HP/COMPAQ: Mid-March date set for merger vote

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday announced that a shareholder meeting to vote on the company's proposed merger with Compaq will take place in mid-March.

HP shareholders on record as of January 28 will be allowed to vote on the deal during a March 19 meeting held in Cupertino, California, according to an HP statement.

The meeting will be closely watched as Hewlett and Packard family heirs have said they plan to vote against the merger. The families and related organisations control close to 18 per cent of HP stock. A number of large institutional investors, however, said they are optimistic about the deal and plan to vote in favour of the merger.

Compaq also announced on Tuesday that it will hold a shareholders' meeting one day after the HP session. The company will have its merger vote on March 20 in Houston.

Shareholders on record as of January 28 will be allowed to vote. In addition, Compaq will mail out a proxy statement to investors on February 6 containing information about the deal and voting procedures.

The European Commission has approved the deal, as have Canadian regulators. The two companies, however, are still awaiting approval from the US Federal Trade Commission.

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Ashlee Vance

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