Hewlett-Packard to be split in two to battle younger rivals

Joseph Millis
Meg Whitman will have a new role in the split HP venture
Computer giant Hewlett-Packard plans to split into two companies as it looks to put more focus on the faster-growing corporate services market, according to a Wall Street Journal report yesterday.

Under the plan, HP will separate its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hard­ware and services operations, and spin off the unit through a tax-free distribution of shares to stockholders next year.

The move, which could be announced as early as today, would be a monumental reshaping of one of technology’s most important pioneers, which still has more than 300,000 employees and is on track to book $112bn (£70.1bn) in revenue this fiscal year. A company spokeswoman de­clined to comment on the report.

HP’s printing and personal computing business accounts for about half its revenue and profit, according to last quarter’s financial results.

Founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in a Palo Alto, California garage in 1939, HP was one of the companies that shaped Silicon Valley and the PC revolution.

But it has lately been overshadowed by younger rivals.

HP’s market value of $66bn is dwarfed by Apple’s $596bn and Microsoft’s $380bn.

The Wall Street Journal, citing one of its sources, said current HP chief executive Meg Whitman would become CEO of the new so-called enterprise company and also be chairman of the PC and printer company.

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