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SunGard Edges Out HP

Beating out an earlier bid by Hewlett-Packard Co., Wayne, PA-based SunGard Data Systems Inc. is expected to acquire the Availability Solutions (technology services) business of the bankrupt Comdisco Inc. for $825 million

The original plan was for Comdisco to sell its technology services division to HP for $610 million.

The SunGard sale agreement came at a court-authorized auction and is subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois at a hearing set for Oct. 23. Service provider Comdisco filed for bankruptcy last July.

Rosemont, Ill.-based Comdisco is known primarily as a technology leasing company, and is a go-to alternative should disasters strike IT businesses; contingency planning and disaster recovery are its specialties.

SunGard provides integrated IT solutions and e-processing for financial services.

The HP deal was "subject to higher or otherwise better offers," Comdisco said, adding that SunGard's bid was supported by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the Official Equity Committee, both of which participated in the auction process.

The SunGard deal includes the purchase of assets of Comdisco's U.S. operations and the stock of its subsidiaries in Britain, France and Canada related to the business, known as Availability Solutions.

"Upon completion of the auction process, Comdisco concluded that the SunGard offer was the highest or otherwise best submitted during the bidding and auction process," said Norm Blake, chairman and chief executive officer of Comdisco.

"The exceptional skills of Comdisco's Availability Solutions staff have been more apparent than ever in the wake of the World Trade Center disaster," said James Mann, chairman and chief executive officer of SunGard. "SunGard looks forward to working with this talented team to continue to set the standard in business continuity and expand opportunities in a growing and rapidly evolving market sector.

The sale excludes the purchase of the stock of subsidiaries in Germany and Spain, as well as certain other assets, including Network Services and IT CAP Solutions.

Left in the cold, apparently, is former Comdisco Chairman Jack Slevin and a management group that said two days ago they planned to make a bid.