HP’s new warning on mergers…

June 12, 2008

Here at footnoted, we do a lot of reading between the lines as we read the fineprint, trying to figure out exactly what the folks who write this stuff are really trying to say, even when they’re trying very hard to be obtuse. So you can imagine our surprise upon reading this 10Q that Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) filed on Friday, which included this new disclaimer in the standard-issue “forward-looking statements”:

  • any statements regarding pending business combination transactions
  • the possibility that the expected benefits of pending combination transactions may not materialize as expected or that the transactions may not be timely completed

A quick search shows that HP actually began adding that language to its filings on May 20, about a week after announcing its $13.9 billion deal to acquire EDS for $25 a share. A broader search shows that the last time HP included that language in its filings was all the way back in 2002, around the time it was completing the deal with Compaq — a deal that has been widely criticized and which ultimately led to Carly Fiorina’s departure.

Presumably, Mark Hurd has higher hopes for the EDS deal. But just in case it doesn’t work out exactly as planned, nobody can claim they weren’t warned!

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