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HP Boosts Bid for 3Par

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Hewlett-Packard Co. boosted its bid for 3Par Inc. by 11 percent to $1.88 billion Friday, topping Dell Inc.’s offer and again raising the stakes in the bidding contest for the data-storage company.

The latest, $30-per-share offer from HP is worth three times the price of 3Par Inc. before Dell made its first bid last week, for $18 per share, or $1.13 billion.

Dell and 3Par said earlier Friday that 3Par’s board accepted the latest bid from Dell, which only has to match the terms of other offers under its initial agreement with 3Par.

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In early trading, 3Par shares surged $5.37, or 20.6 percent, to $31.40. It’s above HP’s latest offer price, signaling that investors expect Dell to respond.

HP and Dell, among the world’s largest personal computer makers, are looking at 3Par as a way to build up their “cloud computing” businesses, delivering software, data storage and other services to customers over the Internet. The companies want 3Par to help keep data storage costs down because the company has technology that doles out storage space on the fly.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell’s shares slipped a penny to $11.74 in morning trading. HP, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., saw shares decline 73 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $37.49.

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