Dell's Bid for Storage Maker Compellent Falls Short of Investor Hopes

Dell Computer to acquire Compellent
Dell Computer to acquire Compellent

Dell announced Monday plans to acquire storage maker Compellent Technologies for $960 million, a move that comes days after giving Wall Street a heads up that the parties were in merger talks. Under the agreement, Dell (DELL) will pay Compellent (CML) investors $27.75 a share in cash. Compellent investors, however, panned the deal and sent the storage maker's shares down 2.4% in Monday's premarket trading to $28.02.

Investors were obviously hoping for more. Last week, Compellent's shares, which had been rocketing up since the start of the month and hitting a new 52-week high of $34.16, took a bath after Dell issued a statement confirming it was in merger talks with Compellent, but for a much lower price than investors dreamed.

Another Black Eye?

Last week, Dell said it was offering $27.50, but today it ponied up a tiny bit more cash, though still far from the $34 a share that investors had hoped for. The computer maker expects to close the deal early in the New Year, but investors may have other plans because it not clear at all that they'll ultimately sign off on the deal.

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Should they reject it, Dell could face another black eye on its dealmaking ability. Earlier this year, it and HP (HPQ) were in a brutal battle to acquire 3Par, with HP ultimately winning by paying a huge premium for the cloud computing storage maker.

Dell says it plans to fold Compellent into its storage portfolio, which includes heavyweight EMC, PowerVault and EqualLogic. Compellent provides virtualized storage capabilities, with automated data-management features designed for increasing efficiency in a system.

"Compellent is a natural complement to Dell's expanding enterprise storage portfolio," said Brad Anderson, Dell Enterprise Product Group senior vice president, in a statement. "The Compellent storage platform will enable Dell to provide customers additional mid- and high-end network storage solutions that simplify and reduce the cost of data management."