HP hires Goldman to fight activist shareholders
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Friday 30 September 2011
Hewlett-Packard, the computer manufacturer which has just fired its second chief executive in two years, has hired Goldman Sachs to help defend itself from activist shareholders who may agitate for reform at the company.
The mighty investment bank has been brought in amid rumours that activist investors including the billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn are considering building a powerful stake in the company.
The activists have been attracted by the strategic chaos at the company, which lost more than one-fifth of its value when it unveiled a plan to sell off its PC manufacturing business, stop production of tablet computers and buy the UK software firm Autonomy. Last week, it fired its short-lived chief executive, Leo Apotheker, and replaced him with the former eBay boss Meg Whitman.
Goldman's bankers have been used by other high profile companies, including the stock markets group NYSE Euronext and internet pioneer Yahoo, to help formulate defences against unwanted outside pressures such as takeovers and rebel shareholders.
HP refused to comment on the brief it has given Goldman, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. A spokesman for the tech company said: "We have long-term relationships with a large number of investment banks."
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