HP/COMPAQ: FTC gives green light to acquisition

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s proposed acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. passed a regulatory hurdle Wednesday when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded its review of the deal.

As shareholders and company executives continued to exchange jabs over the proposal, the FTC voted unanimously to close its investigation into the acquisition without demanding any changes to the terms of the proposed deal. The agency, which monitors market competition, said it "did not find reason to believe that the proposed transaction would impair competition in any relevant market," according to a statement.

The FTC is just the latest government agency to give HP a thumbs-up in its effort to acquire Compaq. The European Union cleared the deal on Jan. 31. A month earlier, the Canadian Competition Bureau completed its review of the proposed buyout, finding no issues of competitive concern.

FTC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson provided some details on the FTC's decision in a statement attached to Wednesday's vote.

"After reviewing possible antitrust concerns in both the manufacturing and sales of personal computers as well as the market for 64-bit microprocessors for Unix servers, I, too, have concluded that the Commission should not challenge this acquisition," Thompson said in the statement. "The combination -- instead of reducing competition by eliminating a 64-bit chip rival -- may enhance the merged firm's capabilities."

While HP executives continue to promote the acquisition as a benefit to customers and the computer industry, the heirs of company founders William Hewlett and David Packard, who hold roughly 18 percent of the company's shares through individual ownership and family trusts, have come out against the proposed buyout. Walter Hewlett, a company board member and son of William Hewlett, has been the most vocal opponent of the deal, launching an aggressive media campaign.

On Wednesday, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), an influential investment group, threw its support behind the acquisition. ISS advises some of HP's largest shareholders, and its support could swing votes in favor of the deal. For example, Barclays Bank PLC has said it will vote its 3.1 percent stake in line with ISS' recommendation.

HP shareholders are expected to vote on the deal at a meeting on March 19. For the deal to go through, it will also require the approval of Compaq shareholders, who will vote at a separate meeting on March 20.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Berger

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?