Interest in H-P Assets Spikes


Hewlett-Packard Co in recent days has received a large number of casual overtures exploring a purchase of some of its assets, but the company has no intention of selling any major units, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

While HP gets feelers from bankers, representatives from private equity and technology companies regularly, the inquiries have increased in the days since news emerged that rival Dell Inc was in discussions with private equity group Silver Lake about a potential buyout, the source said.

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The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday cited unidentified people familiar with the matter as saying "some potential buyers" have expressed interest in HP's Autonomy and EDS units, without elaborating.

HP declined to comment.

HP has written down billions of dollars in the values of both Autonomy and EDS, which it acquired in past years. Even so, HP Chief Executive Meg Whitman has said Autonomy and EDS remained key technological assets for the company.

Autonomy is under a federal investigation after HP accused its former management of accounting improprieties.

HP did say in a recent regulatory filing that it plans to divest some businesses that "no longer help us meet our objectives," but those are expected to be non-core, small assets.

Shares in HP climbed 4.4 percent to $17.27 in afternoon trade after the Journal report.