Ralph Whitworth: the gentleman activist investor

September 30, 2016

The Relational Investors co-founder, who died at 60, was an anomaly in the sharp-elbowed world of forcing change at companies. He preferred working behind the scenes instead of getting into public fights. That helped reluctant boards grow more comfortable talking to agitators.

Carly Fiorina signs up to another doomed merger

April 27, 2016

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz tapped the former Hewlett-Packard boss to be his running mate if he can somehow win the Republican nomination. The math, after a five-state sweep by front-runner Donald Trump, is about as compelling as Fiorina’s calculus for HP’s purchase of Compaq.

Meg Whitman at last splits Hewlett from Packard

By Rob Cox
October 6, 2014

The venerable tech conglomerate will cleave in two: a computer and printer business and a corporate hardware and services arm. Investors had baked in a breakup for ages, so there was only so much longer CEO Whitman could dawdle before losing control of HP’s narrative.

HP stock sell-off looks like overkill

August 19, 2011

The selloff in Hewlett-Packard shares looks like overkill.

Meg Whitman is unjustifiable choice for HP

September 23, 2011

Hewlett-Packard's board just can't get out of its own way.

HP would make lucrative Oracle target

October 3, 2011

Investors unimpressed by Hewlett-Packard's dysfunctional governance have sold off its shares, leaving the tech company vulnerable to a bid. And Larry Ellison's acquisitive Oracle is a credible potential suitor. At least financially, a deal would stack up. A Breakingviews analysis suggests that even paying a 40 percent premium, Oracle could reap a hefty return.

Mike Lynch should try to buy Autonomy back

May 24, 2012

The software group’s founder is leaving HP months after the U.S. tech giant bought it for $11 bln. Other Autonomy execs had already gone. Having overpaid, HP is suffering the cultural woes of M&A. As for Lynch, he could yet exploit the mess to buy his baby back at a decent price.

A Hewlett-Packard primer on how not to do a deal

November 22, 2012

A $12 bln acquisition at a 64 pct premium should involve more due diligence than looking at public financial statements. Don’t ignore your CFO if she thinks the price is way too high. And never buy anything from Frank Quattrone. Breakingviews sketches out the don’ts.

HP breakup is on tech world’s 2013 agenda

By Rob Cox
December 6, 2012

The revered tech group represents the essence of Silicon Valley. But its era as an everything-to-everyone tech conglomerate is over. CEO Meg Whitman and the board won’t stick around for a five-year turnaround. Breaking up HP would be quicker, and could almost double its value.

Walter Hewlett could give HP its Steve Jobs moment

By Rob Cox
September 8, 2010

Oracle boss Larry Ellison may have given Hewlett-Packard some brilliant advice. Before snatching Mark Hurd to help run his software company this week, Ellison compared the board's decision to part ways with the HP CEO as "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs."