Could HP break up? Last year, Whitman rebuffed speculation

Marketplace Contributor Feb 5, 2013
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Dell computer is on display at the pop-up store in Gap store. The $24.4 billion Dell buyout prompts reports of other tech investment deals, including a possible break-up of Hewlett-Packard. In November, HP CEO Meg Whitman said she'd "be very surprised" if HP wasn't an independent company in five years. Junko Kimura/Getty Images for (RED)

Could HP break up? Last year, Whitman rebuffed speculation

Marketplace Contributor Feb 5, 2013
Dell computer is on display at the pop-up store in Gap store. The $24.4 billion Dell buyout prompts reports of other tech investment deals, including a possible break-up of Hewlett-Packard. In November, HP CEO Meg Whitman said she'd "be very surprised" if HP wasn't an independent company in five years. Junko Kimura/Getty Images for (RED)

Computer maker Dell has announced it’s going private in a $24.4 billion deal that founder Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners hope will make the company more agile and more profitable.

The leveraged buyout would be the biggest in five years and it has prompted speculation about other major changes at big tech companies. The financial news site Quartz is reporting that Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors “is studying a break-up” of the Silicon Valley pioneer. (The report is based on quotes from people familiar with the matter.)

In an interview with Marketplace in November, HP CEO Meg Whitman pushed back against speculation that Hewlett-Packard would no longer be around as an independent company in five years, saying, “I would be very surprised if that was the case.”

“This is one of the great brand names in technology. Tremendous goodwill. We have customers who want us to win. And the reason is they don’t want to live in an IBM-only world, or an Oracle-only world, or a Lexmark-only world, or a Dell-only world and they want us to succeed.”

Of course, spinning off parts of the business don’t mean HP would cease to be an independent company.

Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget told the Marketplace Morning Report that in the Dell deal, shareholders will probably be happy with the 25 percent premium the company will pay to buy back Dell stock.

But “on the other hand, you’re probably kind of frustrated that if Michael Dell has some brilliant ideas for how to make Dell much more valuable, that he’s not just doing that with you as a shareholder,” says Blodget.

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