By Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co is exploring a sale of computer network security solutions unit TippingPoint ahead of a corporate split later this year, according to people familiar with the matter. Private equity firms have expressed interest in TippingPoint, the people said this week. The unit could be valued at between $200 million to $300 million, the people added. The sources asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. A spokesman for HP declined to comment. 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 focussed on enterprise technology, software and services and one focussed on slower-growing computer and printer businesses. "HP has been vocal about looking to sell assets that they consider non-core, and that they are not through that process yet," said Brean Capital analyst Ananda Baruah. TippingPoint, which makes hardware for companies' firewalls that protect their networks, competes in a crowded space against companies such as Palo Alto Networks Inc . Its technology is not a key part of HP's broader security strategy, which is focussed on more sophisticated, faster-growing areas such as encryption. Earlier this year, HP bought an encryption company Voltage Security, which helps customers protect their data. Other security assets that HP is focussed on include ArcSight, which monitors and analyses corporate networks for breaches, as well as Fortify, which provides application security. HP acquired TippingPoint as part of its $2.7 billion acquisition of 3Com Corporation in 2010. In May, HP sold a controlling stake in its China-based data networking business H3C Technologies, another unit of 3com, to China's Tsinghua Unigroup for $2.3 billion. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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