Hewlett Packard Enterprise stock spikes after buyout chatter

PE firms focused on buying some HP ent. assests: Report

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise closed 3.5 percent higher after a report that some or all of the company's assets may be an acquisition target for private equity firms.

KKR, Apollo Global Management and Carlyle Group are mulling a buyout of the enterprise technology company, according to investigative technology site The Information. A sale of the company, which could be worth more than $40 billion, would allow the company to weather the IT industry's transition to the cloud away from the pressures of the public market, an unnamed source told The Information's Kevin McLaughlin.

Shares rose nearly 7 percent earlier in the day, but trimmed those gains slightly when Reuters reported that the firms are focused on acquiring some software assets that Hewlett Packard Enterprise has been considering divesting, worth between $6 billion and $8 billion, rather than the entire company.

HPE declined to comment to CNBC, citing a policy against responding to rumors and speculation. CNBC has reached out to the private equity firms named, who did not offer immediate comment to The Information or Reuters.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a market leader in servers and networking technology, recently separated from HP Inc, the legacy hardware business from the former Hewlett-Packard. Since then, shares have gained about 40 percent year to date as the company announced a spinoff of its enterprise services unit, which will merge with Computer Sciences.

Meanwhile, businesses are increasingly trading their own servers for cloud services from providers like Amazon and Microsoft. Worldwide cloud infrastructure services expenditure grew 52.3 percent year on year in the second quarter, independent analyst company Canalys estimates.

Angelo Zino, equity analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, responded to The Information's report in a research note, maintaining a "buy" opinion of the company. He said that by becoming smaller and more nimble, CEO Meg Whitman has positioned HPE to witness sustainable growth, making a buyout more likely.

"We believe such a scenario is more plausible after being spun-off from HP Inc. (HPQ) and the planned spin-off and sale of its enterprise services business," he notes. "Also, we see robust free cash flow and low valuation as attractive traits for possible bidders."

For the full report, see

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.