Best Buy customers Andre Vaz (L) and Zoran Kostov test an HP laptop at a Best Buy store in San Francisco.
Dell said Thursday it won't match HP's offer to pay $33 per share for 3Par, or about $2.07 billion. Dell's decision comes barely an hour after 3Par announced it had received an offer from Dell of $32 per share and then the even stronger bid from HP.
In a statement, 3Par said Dell's revised offer contained new terms that it found unacceptable, including a multiyear reseller agreement with Dell that would remain in effect even if 3Par were to be acquired by another company.
The board of 3Par deemed HP's offer superior.
"We took a measured approach throughout the process and have decided to end these discussions," said Dave Johnson, Dell's senior vice president for corporate strategy.
Dell made the first offer for 3Par on Aug. 16, at $18 per share. As part of an agreement between the two companies, 3Par must pay Dell a $72 million termination fee.
Both PC makers were looking at 3Par as a way to build up their "cloud computing" businesses, delivering software, data storage and other services to customers via the Internet. 3Par could also help them cut data-storage expenses.
For either company, the acquisition would come as part of a strategy to grow more profitable lines of business outside the personal computer market.