Deals

HP buys ArcSight for $1.5 billion (but not the yacht-club membership)

Some companies freeze up when they’re between CEOs. But Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest tech company by revenues, just keeps rolling along. On Monday, it announced it would buy security software maker ArcSight for $1.5 billion.

It’s almost as if Hewlett-Packard has something to prove — namely, that it didn’t need that Mark Hurd guy anyway.

After noisily and messily ousting Hurd as its CEO last month, HP went on to wrest storage-software company 3Par away from Dell in a heated bidding war that drove its price to $2.4 billion, enriching Silicon Valley venture capitalists like Mayfield Fund in the process.

This time, it’s Kleiner Perkins that’s hitting the jackpot. As Dan Primack notes in Fortune.com, Kleiner retained more than half of its 19 percent stake after ArcSight’s IPO in June 2009.

There’s one other bond between HP and ArcSight: questions about executive compensation. Former ArcSight CEO Robert Shaw retired, reportedly for health reasons, in early 2009, after sharp-eyed readers of SEC filings noted that the company was paying for his yacht-club membership, a rare perk that clashed with the image of a Silicon Valley startup.