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HP to acquire Aruba Networks for $2.7 billion

Despite a dismal record in big acquisitions, Hewlett-Packard is going after the wireless network gear manufacturer.

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This 2012 file photo shows a Hewlett Packard logo in Frisco, Texas.

LM Otero/AP/File

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Hewlett-Packard Co said it would buy Wi-Fi network gear maker Aruba Networks Inc for about $2.7 billion, the biggest deal for the world's No. 2 PC maker since its botched acquisition of Britain's Autonomy Plc in 2011.

HP has had a dismal record for big acquisitions, having written off multibillion-dollar acquisitions of Autonomy and technology outsourcing provider EDS, which it bought in 2008.

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With the purchase of Aruba, HP is boosting its share of the wireless local area network market as more companies allow employees to access work systems through their wireless devices.

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The all-cash offer of $24.67 per share is a premium of 34.4 percent to Aruba's close on Feb. 24, the day before Bloomberg reported that a deal was in the works.

Aruba shares fell 1.5 percent to $24.41 in early trading on Monday. The stock had risen about 40 percent since the Bloomberg report.

HP, which has struggled to adapt to the new era of mobile and online computing, plans to split into two listed companies this year, separating its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations.

Evercore served as financial adviser to Aruba.

HP shares were up marginally at $35.02.