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HP To Acquire 3com For $2.7 Billion 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-bigger dept.
An anonymous reader writes "HP and 3Com Corporation today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which HP will purchase 3Com, a leading provider of networking switching, routing and security solutions, at a price of $7.90 per share in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $2.7 billion. The terms of the transaction have been approved by the HP and 3Com boards of directors."
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HP To Acquire 3com For $2.7 Billion

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  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:41PM (#30067968) Homepage Journal
    ... what happened to 3com. Some of us remember "back in the day" when 3com was one of the top brands for network cards (3c503 or 3c509 anyone?). Then their cards disappeared from the market some years ago, apparently they decided to focus on other areas. I guess it isn't a huge surprise that they would become a target for acquisition.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      3C905B-TX
      Possibly the most compatible card I have ever used. (Every OS except >= Vista supports it). Now they're super cheap on the electronic bay.

    • It's all about the tulips baby.... *sniif*
    • by amorsen (7485)

      PCI appeared, and with that the 3c905 and 3c900. Their primary distinguishing feature was that the actual chip used on the card changed every few months requiring a new driver without a change in product number. Then the DEC 21xxx (tulip) series appeared and 3com became just a bad memory.

      • by Leebert (1694) * on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @11:49PM (#30069174)

        PCI appeared, and with that the 3c905 and 3c900. Their primary distinguishing feature was that the actual chip used on the card changed every few months requiring a new driver without a change in product number.

        Don Becker came one time to do a demo at work. He brought a stack of CDs to clusterify a bunch of PCs (I don't remember exactly what he was trying to accomplish, to be honest. It's long enough ago that it's fuzzy)

        Anyhow, when his CDs booted, they didn't recognize the revision of the 905's in the machines. I always got a kick out of seeing Becker himself get bitten by that. Made me feel a little better about running into problems myself.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NoYob (1630681)
      3c509 - that was the first card I used when I first started messing with networking in Linux - Slackware - going through config files in /etc....

      *breaks down sobbing*

      I need a hug!

    • I ceased wondering how Cisco ate 3Com's lunch when I had to integrate a couple 3Com switches the company CEO (an avid "bargain hunter") acquired into company LAN. To put it mildly, for manufacturing something that refused to play nice with other networking gears my only question is how they managed to stay in business this long.

    • by Peter Simpson (112887) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:40PM (#30068384)

      Started with them in Massachusetts in '93. They had some of the worst and most disorganized upper management ever. The guys doing corporate strategy must have been ADHD. They would buy a new (usually startup) company every year...some good, some bad. Kept the original management for a year, then, after all the developers and original management had gotten PO'd and left, bought another company and did the same thing. Year after year. I'm not sure what they got out of it.

      I was laid off after they'd spent several years developing a gigabit enterprise switch, sold the first few, then made s surprise announcement that they were leaving the enterprise business. You can imagine how their major customers, who'd started to build new infrastructure using these switches, took that news.

      They did give out great clothing, though. Still have a collection. Great co-workers, good projects, extremely poor corporate management.

    • ... what happened to 3com. Some of us remember "back in the day" when 3com was one of the top brands for network cards (3c503 or 3c509 anyone?). Then their cards disappeared from the market some years ago, apparently they decided to focus on other areas. I guess it isn't a huge surprise that they would become a target for acquisition.

      That's ancient history. My most recent memory of 3com is a 3C16470 switch that needed to be power cycled on a weekly basis.

    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:09AM (#30069552) Homepage Journal
      Remember Bob Metcalfe and all of the FUD he used to spout about Linux and Open Source?

      Bob used to answer the phone when I had a problem with the 3com card in my VAX-780. Then he was riding high for a while. I'd imagine he took out lots of cash while the company was a leader.

  • Awkward (Score:4, Informative)

    by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:42PM (#30067976) Journal

    Somebody talked. The options market started heating up hours before the announcement.

    It looks like it's going to be a good fight, as the traditional tech companies merge transformer-style into a pair of consolidated all-in-one providers. Maybe they'll battle to the death for every server room dollar.

    All the while Apple sews up more and more lines in the consumer electronics market and Jobs smiles subtly. It's almost as if he knows what happens once we've consolidated everything in the datacenter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Knara (9377)
      I'm more surprised when someone *doesn't* talk, to be honest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khallow (566160)

      All the while Apple sews up more and more lines in the consumer electronics market and Jobs smiles subtly. It's almost as if he knows what happens once we've consolidated everything in the datacenter.

      Apple does nothing in the datacenter or networking and these companies do little in consumer electronics. I doubt the merger will mean much to Apple.

    • ... would find a way to relate this not in any way to Apple.

      Apple simply does not figure in most of the markets where HP moves, while in the other hand HP could encroach into Apple's markets (they compete against each other in all of Apple's computer lines).

    • Meanwhile in the real world, Acer is the largest manufacturer of laptops, HP of desktops, and Samsung is a huge consumer electronics company. The US is not longer the majority of the IT goods market. Outside the US, the iPhone is just one of a number of high spec phones. The consumer market has lots of competition and Apple is just one player. Your statement is like saying "BMW sews up lines in the car market". Just because many US geeks prefer BMWs to Mercs doesn't actually mean that BMW is the market lead
  • FU HP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:49PM (#30068008)

    As a current HP bastard (who didn't post this, BTW), this pissed me off. We've endured pay cuts, benefit cuts, no raises, mass firings, hell, my local office can't even purchase paper plates & disposable spoons, and somehow there's enough money to purchase another company.

    • Re:FU HP (Score:5, Informative)

      by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:53PM (#30068056)
      ... what else is new? The IT company I work for implemented 5% pay cuts across the board this year, and then went out and made a ~$2B acquisition.
      • Re:FU HP (Score:4, Interesting)

        by confused one (671304) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:18PM (#30068228)
        It's not limited to IT. We matched last years numbers (which were record setting, by the way) and increased profitability. But... because our sister division's numbers sucked, No bonus for us, expansion is on hold, and capital expendatures on equipment we need for production is on hold. Meanwhile the parent corporation is buying up compatible businesses. So, why was it we busted our collective asses this year? Someone?
        • Re:FU HP (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mikkeles (698461) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @10:23PM (#30068660)

          'So, why was it we busted our collective asses this year? Someone?'

          Because you are young, foolish, and naive and believe that hard work and diligence means something to a corporation.
          But don't worry; you will grow out of it :)

        • by klui (457783)
          Pretty sure your corporate executives got compensated well for it. Meanwhile people in the trenches need to do more with less, pay cuts, etc. Very nice scam companies are running these days, taking advantage of the economic situation.
      • by hwyhobo (1420503)

        IT company I work for implemented 5% pay cuts across the board this year, and then went out and made a ~$2B acquisition

        /me waves from Santa Clara

        :)

    • Re:FU HP (Score:5, Funny)

      by raftpeople (844215) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:02PM (#30068116)
      It's all about budgeting. They put in a line item for 2.7B acquisition, whereas you did not put in a line item for paper plates and spoons. Next time be more aggressive and the company picnic should be a little less messy.
    • Re:FU HP (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms@gmaiCOFFEEl.com minus caffeine> on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:08PM (#30068172) Homepage Journal

      As someone who is going through HP's Work Force Reduction, it was a shock to me too. I'll just bet my 88K salary put them over the edge for this buy. - HEX

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942)
      Buying paper plates won't earn HP any money. Buying 3Com will.
      • by amorsen (7485)

        It's highly unlikely that HP will make money on that one. 3com doesn't have anything which HP doesn't have a better version of already. This makes even less sense than the Compaq deal.

    • Re:FU HP (Score:4, Informative)

      by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:36PM (#30068358)

      Shit like this is why I left 5 years ago. Get out while you still can, the old HP is dead and the zombie remnant doesn't give a shit about its employees.

      • "Get out while you still can, the old High-Tech Industry is dead and the zombie remnant doesn't give a shit about its employees."

        There, fixed that for you.

    • Its funny. I know some body who was in middle management in HP in the 1990s. The was sick of the weekly meetings half way across the world and was praying for the money to run out.

      I guess it did.

  • by spywhere (824072) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:49PM (#30068014)
    I couldn't wait to find out which company HP would destroy next.
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @11:01PM (#30068908)

      I'll give you a hint. The company is referred to with a two letter acronym that starts with an "H". They've spun off all but one of their best divisions over the last decade, and they're about to fold their printer division (The last that makes anything innovative or of any quality) into the division that makes their worst-in-class PCs. They also just bought 3Com.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:50PM (#30068024) Journal
    Given what is left of HP after the hurricane Carly destroyed the place.
    • by Knara (9377)
      Sad, but true.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      Next on her agenda: governor California.

      Oh well, if she splits California in two it might not be a bad thing. Unless one of them winds up like Agilent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by khallow (566160)
        The HP/Agilent split had nothing to do with Carly. That was started under the previous CEO and pretty much completed by the time she showed up.
      • Next on her agenda: governor California.

        She as on TV the other night here and I had the distinct impression her aim was about one step above that position.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KenSeymour (81018)

        Actually, she is running for the U. S. Senate against Barbara Boxer.

        Maybe I'll send Senator Boxer a campaign contribution with a note:
        "I was laid off by Carly."

        You know, you can give money to campaigns out of state. So there are
        a good 15,000 potential donors right there.

      • With Carly as governor I predict she will manage the outsourcing of California state government to India.

        'Government 411 operator': Thank you for calling HP, i mean the State of California. May I have your serial number?
        Caller: Hello, I'm calling from Malibu. We need to call a State of Emergency. The water main broke and there's major flooding.
        Operator: There is flooding in Mumbai?
        Caller: No Malibu.
        2 hours later.
        Caller: No Malibu. M-a-l-i-b-u.
        Operator: Sorry. I cannot help you without a serial number.
        Caller

    • This is basically restoring one of the many useful bits of Agilent that were available in house before her masterful smashup job.

  • Joy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EkriirkE (1075937) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @08:52PM (#30068046) Homepage
    I can't wait for 500MB driver packages, 234454 running background processes and 7 tray icons required to configure the hardware.
    • Re:Joy (Score:5, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:04PM (#30068126) Journal
      Just you wait, my boy, just you wait...

      The ether cartridge that comes with the NIC is just a starter, it'll run out within a few hundred thousand packets(less if the packets contain more than ~50% 1s). Of course, only genuine HP ether is supported, for best possible data fidelity
      • Re:Joy (Score:5, Funny)

        by McNihil (612243) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:31PM (#30068296)

        Kids, this is what happens when sniffing ether.

      • by Korin43 (881732)
        I use token ring you insensitive clod! Speaking of which, I wonder if HP brand tokens last longer than the generic brand?
        • by GaryOlson (737642)
          No, since they are a centrally controlled token of a large bureaucratic organization, the tokens will be inflated. This maintains the functionality of the token while allowing the value of the token to degrade to nothing. Last one on the ring which receives a valueless token falls off the network never to return.

          Unless you receive government tokens; but then that is a completely different communication protocol.
        • by inKubus (199753)

          Yer token something.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Also needing the better part of an hour to install the gorram driver.

      HP's more expensive business-type printers have decent drivers that only need 10MB or less disk space, and don't have bloated installers, but you'd never know it from the consumer shit.

      • by Kaboom13 (235759)

        Just for kicks, if you don't need any of the fancy features, you can still use the old laserjet 4 drivers for brand new HP laserjet printers. Every large enterprise I've been in has standardized on them, they must be doing something right. Their consumer grade hardware is total shit though, a customer of ours decided to "save" some money by buying some printers from Best buy instead of the printers we recommended. They bought 2 HP printers, the drivers took 45 minutes to install out of the box.

        After the

        • The LaserJet 4 drivers are basically 'Generic PCL Printer' drivers. You can also drive most of them as generic PostScript printers too. You only need the printer-specific drivers to use printer-specific features, which is as it should be.
    • Does that mean, you are already planning to buy their products when they arrive at that state? ^^

    • by klui (457783)
      Shipped out to customers in 24 carton boxes, all placed inside a bigger box.
  • It's starting to look like HP deserves the Borg moniquer more than Microsoft does.
  • 3com, we hardly knew-- ...Well, I guess we did know you. So long.

    What happens when there are no companies left to merge? You get China.
    • What happens when there are no companies left to merge? You get China.

      Actually, you get South Korea. Google 'Chaebol'.

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @09:48PM (#30068448)

    Adding 3com networking know-how to HP computing products may actually produce better products?
    Hey it could happen!

    • by maugle (1369813)
      It actually has a good chance of happening. After all, it's physically impossible for them to get worse.
  • Made me laugh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bsd_usr (140514)

    Here's the thing... The company I work for has a few sister companies in HK and China. I work for the U.S. office.

    We recently (last year) upgraded our switches in the U.S. office. Previously, we were running 3Com switches of various types and models (3300's mostly of different kinds, and some 4200's). The decision to replace them was due to the fact they were getting old and the performance wasn't really there when you start daisy chaining 10 different switches to support over 200 ports.

    When looking for ne

  • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @10:40PM (#30068764) Homepage Journal

    3ComHPaq?

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @10:49PM (#30068822)

    Why is anybody surprised by this? Cisco announces a server product with very strong networking abilities. This is pretty much one of the few large areas of the datacenter (hardware wise) that Cisco hasn't moved into (besides disk arrays). HP sees this as a huge threat to them (bigger than IBM, who makes most revenue from services including running datacenters comprised of non-IBM equipment).

    HP now realizing that they don't have the networking expertise to go after cisco directly in the networking space (one area they need to expand into to gain marketshare in the datacenter beyond servers and HDS rebranded storage, or that midrange Compaq based arrays). Well, they could go after the #2 enterprise networking company (Juniper, but they have a market cap of ~$13B), so they pick up 3com and whatever is left of it (remember they used to be partnered a while ago with Huauei, that partnership is gone tho), so they can better fight against Cisco for networking.

    For these big companies it's all about expanding your presence and finding new revenue streams. Cisco can't seriously increase it's core routing/switching marketshare very easily any more than HP can increase its server marketshare.

    It's not always easy to grow your company organically (from within). Look at cisco, they buy security companies, storage switching companies, WebEx. Hell, when they were a router only company, they bought an ethernet switching company (Crescendo) which later became the bread and butter business for them.

  • by Deviant (1501) on Wednesday November 11, 2009 @11:07PM (#30068948)

    I've found HP's ProCurve Switches to be great with a lifetime warranty and free software updates compared to the Cisco equivilents which need SmartNet (maybe smart on Cisco's part) and cost 2-3 times as much.

    However with alot of my clients rolling out the Cisco Voice solutions the idea usually is they standardize on all Cisco kit including the switches. I wonder if this is HP's play to get into the IP telephony market (which 3Com's website indicates they are in) to complete their offerings so a buisiness will go all-HP in a similar fashion?

    • That was what I was thinking; HP doesn't have a strong VoIP brand, and vendors will often push proprietary network solutions with their VoIP installations. 3com sure as hell does it, as does Cisco. Maybe that's what HP is eyeballing.

  • I guess this purchase will free-up 3Com's stock symbol COMS (a pretty cool one).

  • There is some rather damning (IMO) evidence [zerohedge.com] of insider trading on this deal. Seems like a very short sighted move on HPs part since the market price for 3COM was 5.30/share.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!

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