18 April 2002 Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) proposed acquisition of rival Compaq has been approved by stockholders, according to a preliminary tally of votes.
A majority of just 45 million HP shareholders voted in favour of the deal, vindicating exit polls conducted shortly after the HP vote on 19 March. A total of 837.9 million shares were voted in favour, while 792.6 million were voted against. HP said that almost half the votes against the merger were cast by organisations affiliated with the Hewlett and Packard families.
HP CEO Carly Fiorina expressed her relief that the company’s acrimonious battle with disgruntled shareholders looked to be nearing its conclusion. “We are eager to put this difficult period behind us and look forward to doing business as the new HP,” she said.
But Hewlett has already vowed to try and overturn the results in court. At the end of March 2002, he filed a law suit alleging that HP put improper pressure on a key shareholder, Deutsche Bank Asset Management, to switch 17 million of its 25 million HP shares in favour of the take-over.
However, HP has said that the final certified vote tally should be released before the end of the month and that it plans to close the deal shortly after, regardless of the opposition from Hewlett.