Shares of 3PAR Inc. (PAR) spiked 24 percent, the highest intraday price since it went public in Nov. 2007, after Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) agreed to raise its offer to $30 a share, or $2 billion, for the data-storage provider, topping Dell Inc.’s (DELL) Thursday bid by 11 percent.
In early trading Friday, Fremont, Calif.-based 3Par — a co. that specializes in high-end data storage, a key part of cloud computing — surged more than $6 to $32.40. That’s well above H-P’s latest offer price, signaling that investors expect Dell to respond. Dell spokesman David Frink said the company will take time to evaluate the offer and make the best decision for its customers and shareholders.
The rapidly escalating bids for 3PAR have, according to several analysts, driven up valuations, raising the risk of the buyer overpaying. The latest H-P offer is three times what 3Par was trading at before Dell started the public bidding at $18 a share on Aug. 16, and values the company at around 8 times estimated sales for its current fiscal year (multiples above five are considered high in technology acquisitions). It’s worth pointing out that 3PAR has barely made a profit since its 1999 founding.
Shares of Dell gained 28 cents, or 2.38%, to $12.03 at 12:09 p.m. ET in Nasdaq trading. HP saw shares decline 48 cents, or 1.26%, to $37.74.
3Par climbed $6.28, or 24 percent, to $32.28 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.