Dell May Acquire Compellent for $876M

The two companies announced Thursday that they are in "advanced discussions" regarding a merger, and Dell may buy Compellent for $27.50 per share.

Eden Prairie-based Compellent Technologies, Inc., may be acquired by Dell, Inc., the companies announced Thursday.

In a news release, the companies said that they have “entered into an exclusive agreement to negotiate a merger.” The companies are currently in “advanced discussions”-and Dell said that it may strike a deal to acquire Compellent's outstanding stock for $27.50 per share in cash, or about $876 million.

That purchase price is well below Compellent's $33.65 Wednesday closing price. The company's stock was trading down about 14 percent at $28.88 during Thursday morning trading.

Thursday's announcement wasn't the first indication that Compellent may soon be sold. In late October, a report by Reuters indicated that the company has met with investment banks to advise it on options. The report caused Compellent's stock to soar-nearly doubling in price during the past two months.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell's stock price remained relatively stable on Thursday morning following its announcement, trading at $13.68.

“There can be no assurances that an agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated,” the companies said in a statement. “Dell and Compellent do not intend to comment further until an agreement is reached or discussions are terminated.”

News of the possible acquisition comes just three months after Dell lost a bidding war for Fremont, California-based 3Par, Inc.-which was sold to Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard Company for $2.35 billion.

Compellent, founded in 2002, provides data storage solutions within a 35-country sales network. It is among Minnesota's 70-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $125.3 million in 2009-up 38 percent from 2008.