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Compellent Rises Amid Speculation It May Be Acquired

Compellent Technologies Inc. surged 17 percent, setting a record, after it backed out of an investor conference, fueling speculation it may be a takeover target.

The company’s chief financial officer, John Judd, was scheduled to present tomorrow at the Barclays Capital Global Technology Conference in San Francisco. He won’t participate because of a scheduling conflict, said Jenifer Kirtland, an outside spokeswoman for Compellent. She declined to elaborate.

Compellent specializes in technology that helps companies store, recover and manage large amounts of data. It might be attractive to an acquirer, such as Dell Inc., that wants a larger slice of the growing market for data centers, Roger Cox, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, has said. Trading of bullish Compellent options surged to a record today as investors boosted bets that the stock will extend gains.

“These are bets on a relatively large move,” said Ophir Gottlieb, head of client services at Livevol Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of options market analytics. “It’s the type of order flow that you’d see from a takeover rumor that people believe, which of course doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen.”

Dell lost a bidding war with Hewlett-Packard Co. for 3Par Inc., a company that competes in the same market as Compellent, on Sept. 2. David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, declined to comment.

More than 18,000 calls to buy the shares changed hands, nine times the four-week average and five times the number of puts to sell. The most active contracts were December $35 calls, which soared 535 percent, for the biggest gain among all contracts on the stock and accounted for almost quarter of all of the transactions.

Compellent jumped $4.91 to $33.53 today on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares climbed as high as $34.05, the biggest gain since Oct. 27.

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