HP/COMPAQ: Vote tally is official; deal set to close

Hewlett-Packard announced the official shareholder vote totals Wednesday for its acquisition of Compaq Computer, reaching one of the final milestones in the troubled deal and clearing the way for the merged company to officially launch next week.

While a preliminary vote count already showed that HP had secured its bid to buy Compaq, an independent vote tabulation company has now released the final numbers, showing that 838 million votes were cast in favor of the deal compared to 793 million against the acquisition, according to a statement. HP said it expects to close the deal on May 3 and launch the new company a few days later on May 7.

HP also received good news for its merger plan on Tuesday, when a Delaware court rejected a bid to dismiss the shareholder vote. Walter Hewlett, a former HP board member and son of one of the company's founders, had asked the court to review HP's tactics used to secure votes in favor of the deal from a Deutsche Bank AG division and to look over HP's publicly stated financial projections for the acquisition. After the vote was cleared by the court, Hewlett then issued a statement that said he would drop opposition to the acquisition.

In mid-April, two federal overseers requested information from HP relating to the charges levied by Hewlett. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York subpoenaed information about the voting of Deutsche Bank and Northern Trust Corp. and their affiliates on the acquisition, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's San Francisco office "informally" requested documents from HP about its communications with Deutsche Bank. With HP cleared of wrongdoing by a Delaware judge, however, it appears that neither organization is likely to take further action.

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