8 February 2002 Walter Hewlett, son of late Hewlett-Packard (HP) founder Bill Hewlett, has stepped up his campaign against the planned merger between HP and Compaq.
In full-page newspaper adverts published in the Wall Street Journal and San Jose Mercury News in the US, Hewlett declares: “A $25 billion mistake is not the HP way.” The advert goes on to ask: “Why would you want to invest in Compaq, whose own CEO, Michael Capellas, admits that 45% of its revenues are in a ‘rotten business’?”.
Hewlett and other members of the Hewlett and Packard families collectively own about 18% of HP and have been running a sustained campaign against the proposed acquisition since it was announced in September 2001.
This latest attack follows a similar move by fellow heir David Packard in January 2001, who also published a full-page advert in the WSJ detailing his vehement opposition to the deal.
However, HP CEO Carly Fiorina claims to be unfazed by the latest salvo. Speaking in a news interview on US cable television channel CNBC, she criticised the HP heirs for having “significantly less” business experience than the company’s current board, adding that “good judgment” would prevail.