HP To Acquire Electronic Data Systems, Report Says

HP might pay between $12 billion and $13 billion to acquire EDS in a deal that could be announced Tuesday, says <i>The Wall Street Journal.</i>

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

May 12, 2008

2 Min Read

In a deal that would create a hardware, software, and tech services powerhouse, Hewlett-Packard is poised to purchase outsourcing firm EDS, according to a report published Monday.

The Wall Street Journal said the deal could be announced as early as Tuesday and also reported that HP might pay between $12 billion and $13 billion to acquire Dallas-based EDS. The newspaper cited unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations.

An HP official told InformationWeek that the company "does not comment on rumors." An EDS spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

HP shares were up 0.75% to $49.50 in late-afternoon trading Monday. EDS shares were up 22.06% to $23.02. HP is scheduled to announce its second-quarter earnings Thursday.

Under former CEO Carly Fiorina, and now under current chief Mark Hurd, HP has struggled to grow its footprint in the lucrative IT services market, which is dominated by IBM. Acquiring EDS, the world's largest pure-play outsourcer, would immediately vault HP into a major services firm capable of rivaling Big Blue.

HP posted $16.6 billion in total services revenue in 2007, while EDS recorded $22 billion in sales. For its part, IBM recorded $36.1 billion in technology services revenue last year and $18 billion in sales of technology-enabled business services.

If the deal happens, HP could face significant integration challenges.

IBM in recent years has slimmed down its efforts to focus solely on enterprise hardware, software, and services. To emphasize its focus on business customers, the company went so far as to jettison its PC business in 2005.

HP, on the other hand, continues to operate a consumer-oriented PC and printing business that accounts for about half of its revenue. It could be difficult for HP to convince blue-chip EDS outsourcing customers, such as American Airlines and Bank of America, that their service would not suffer in the hands of a company with such a significant stake in the consumer tech market.

Uncertainty created by an HP-EDS merger could, in the short term at least, play into the hands of IBM and also help several India-based outsourcers, including Wipro, TCS, and Infosys, that are expanding their presence in the U.S. market.

On the other hand, HP, with the addition of EDS, could rightfully claim that it's the sole vendor capable of furnishing customers with the entire spectrum of IT products and services -- from PCs to global outsourcing services.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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