HP tips over Hurd’s TippingPoint

Mark_HurdThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP wants to sell off its computer network security solutions unit TippingPoint before the corporate split later this year.

Private equity firms have expressed interest in TippingPoint and the deal could be valued at between $200 million to $300 million.

HP is reviewing all parts of its business to find assets that may not fit into the separate companies ahead of a planned corporate breakup in November.

HP plans to split into two publicly listed companies, one focused on enterprise technology, software and services and one focused on slower-growing computer and printer businesses.

TippingPoint makes hardware for companies’ firewalls and competes against companies such as Palo Alto Networks. Its technology is not a key part of HP’s broader security strategy, which is focused on more sophisticated, faster-growing areas such as encryption. In fact, HP bought an encryption company called Voltage Security.

HP bought TippingPoint as part of its $2.7 billion acquisition of 3Com in 2009. In May, HP sold a controlling stake in H3C Technologies, another unit of 3com, to China’s Tsinghua Unigroup for $2.3 billion. It sounds like the 3Com assets have been flogged of for a tidy profit, which is something that the current HP board can thank its former CEO Mark Hurd.