HP Declares Victory — Hewlett Says Wait a Few Weeks

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Source: ZDNet

Think of a hotly contended vote, with equally leveled allegations of disaster if the other side wins and a potentially equally hotly contended result. No, it’s not the Presidential election of 2000, it’s the vote to decide whether Compaq and HP will merge.

About an hour after polling closed at a shareholder meeting here, HP issued a statement saying that “based on a preliminary estimate of shareowner proxies by its proxy solicitor, it believes it has received sufficient votes to approve HP’s merger with Compaq Computer Corporation.” The company noted that the results are not official and that the official count may take up to four weeks.

HP and Compaq both issued statements that they were pleased with the results. As could be expected, the major spokesman for the opposition, Walter Hewlett, also issued a statement saying that the declaration was premature.

In a meeting after the polls closed, the nature the fissure between the two sides became even more evident. The Hewlett and Packard families, many retirees, and other people who considered the deal from an stock value/investment perspective were opposed, while current HP employees and management were in favor.

While the merger has been hotly contested on the HP side, the Compaq side has been anything but. Compaq votes today on the merger and is expected to approve it on a large margin.

If the merger is officially approved, about 15,000 people are expected to be cut from both companies. HP CEO Carly Fiona said that “We have 36,000 people in businesses that are not profitable.”

Neither HP or Compaq have commented on how the merger will affect the Jornada and iPAQ lines other than to say that both will continue to exist for some time after the merger.

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