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HP spending spree continues

Hewlett-Packard is reportedly poised to buy ArcSight for about $1.5 billion. The Wall Street Journal  and others reported Sunday that a deal is near.  (Update: The deal is now official, according to a post to the HP Website.)

ArcSight, which makes security software that monitors computer networks for unusual activity, had been shopping itself around, looking for $42 per share. Its stock was trading for just over $35 on Friday.

If HP closes a deal, it will come on the heels of HP’s hard fought–and pricey–victory wresting 3Par away from archrival Dell.

The HP vs. Dell battle–and the fact that companies can’t earn much on their cash holdings–causes many to expect the M&A activitiy to continue. Since 3Par ended up costing HP $2.1 billion, way more than the company’s valuation before the bidding war, there’s been heightened speculation that other innovative storage and networking companies will be snapped up. Compellent, Isilon, Brocade Communications and other names are mentioned as buyout candidates.

Many thought HP would cool its jets after being slammed for paying too much for 3Par but then Oracle hired former HP CEO Mark Hurd as co-president.  HP’s board is clearly concerned that Hurd will be put in charge of Oracle’s Sun hardware business. News of HP’s interest in ArcSight soon followed that of HP suing Hurd and Oracle.

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