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Dell ponders matching Hewlett-Packard bid for 3Par

The stunning bidding war for 3Par seems poised to continue. Dell (DELL) on Monday said that it was contemplating whether to match Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) $2 billion bid to acquire the obscure data-storage company.
"We're assessing what our next step will be," Dell spokesman David Frink says.
Meanwhile, Intel on Monday announced the $1.4 billion acquisition of Infineon Technologies' wireless division. This comes two weeks after Intel announced it will acquire anti-virus provider McAfee for $7.7 billion. The common thread to all these deals: cloud computing.
Dell and HP are hot for 3Par's technology because it supplements the complex systems each sells that enable new services to be delivered, via the Internet cloud, to PCs, mobile devices and smart sensors.
Intel, for its part, hopes to supply the computing chips inside the devices and sensors. These include PCs, netbooks, tablet PCs, smartphones and sensors that can track electricity use, for instance. Intel also wants to supply new Internet-delivered services, akin to how McAfee pushes out security fixes in real time to millions of PCs inside corporate networks.
"These acquisitions reflect the growing importance of cloud computing solutions and strategies," says Charles King, Pund-IT principal analyst. "The opportunities seem almost limitless."
Dell initially bid $1.15 billion, or $18 a share, for 3Par. Several rounds of bidding culminated in HP's $2 billion, $30-a-share bid, conveyed late Friday. That's a 200% premium over 3Par's $10-a-share price prior to Dell's first offer.
3Par fits nicely into both tech giants' plans for boosting sales of cloud computing systems. "If HP is able to rapidly ramp up 3Par's sales, it can certainly justify the price they're offering to pay for it," says Stan Zaffos, research vice president at Gartner.
3Par's closing share price on Monday, $31.82, reflected sentiment that Dell may yet counter HP's standing offer, says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "There probably is going to be one more round of this, bringing the price to around $32," he says.
Meanwhile, Intel's acquisition will give the chipmaker instant access to cellphone manufacturers, and should help Intel gain ground in supplying chips for Internet-connected devices and sensors, beyond PCs.
"Intel is buying a place at the table," Enderle says. "This is exactly where they need to be."

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