August 24, 2010, 8:06 AM — Hewlett-Packard's $1.6 billion offer today to purchase grid-storage vendor 3Par came as a surprise to many tech industry watchers, but it's a smart move, both offensively and defensively.
HP does not have its own enterprise-class storage array; instead -- like Oracle/Sun -- it resells Hitachi Data Systems' Universal Storage Platform (USP). And it sees Dell -- which offered $1.15 billion for 3Par a week ago -- as a threat in the enterprise data center marketplace. 3Par's cloud-based storage architecture would give it a significant leg up into that space.
HP's chief strategy and technology officer, Shane Robison, argued that HP would be a better fit for Fremont, Calif.-based 3Par than Dell, since both HP and 3Par are Silicon Valley companies.
HP had been eying 3Par for some time and had made an earlier offer for the grid-storage vendor, HP executives said, though they did not provide further details.
3Par declined comment on HP's bid. So did a Dell spokesman.
"Clearly, when you go in with a bid that's a 33.3% premium [over a rival's bid] it's a competitive bid and not based on what the company is worth," said Mark Peters, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass. "So it's going to end up with who blinks first. Which company wants to lose this bidding war less?"
3Par's technologies will help HP expand its offerings for building public and private cloud services, according to Dave Donatelli, HP's executive vice president and general manager of enterprise servers, storage and networking.
In addition, HP has "a unique ability" to bring 3Par's products to market. "Our reach is something other [companies] simply can't match," he said during a morning conference call.
A gut punch to EMC
Donatelli once ran EMC's Storage Division. He left EMC and moved to HP in April 2009.