by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor
As expected, Compaq Computer Corp. shareholders approved the company’s proposed merger with Hewlett-Packard March 20, by a nine-to-one margin. The announcement came after a shareholder’s meeting near its Houston headquarters. The HP buyout would merge the two electronics giants, and signal the largest-ever computer industry merger.
For the most part, Compaq shareholders welcomed the deal. HP is slated to pay almost $22 billion for Compaq, which was recently appraised at $18.3 billion.
Proponents for both sides hope to gain strength from the proposed amalgamation, following the recent high-tech industry slowdown that led to layoffs at both companies. Executives at both companies acknowledge that more layoffs would be likely after the buyout, due to inevitable streamlining of the two companies.
The Compaq vote came a day after the highly publicized and contested HP shareholders’ vote. HP proponents, led by Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina claimed victory, while opponents, led by HP heir Walter Hewlett called the vote too close to call.
An independent firm will validate and certify the HP vote, which could take several weeks.
“I am gratified that Compaq shareholders have seen the power behind the merger of these two great technology companies,” said Michael Capellas, Compaq chairman and chief executive officer. “The complementary strengths of Compaq and HP provide a truly unique opportunity to reshape the information technology industry.”