HP’s Whitman wager way to ward off Oracle

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Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) directors were concerned that plummeting shares would make the company vulnerable to a bid from Oracle Corp. (ORCL) when they replaced Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman, two people close to the board said.

While Oracle has considered informally whether to approach Hewlett-Packard, it’s unlikely to make a bid any time soon, three people close to the software company said. After speaking with several financial advisers, Hewlett-Packard has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) to help it prepare for any possible moves by activist investors, one person said.

Whitman took over as chief executive officer on Sept. 22, succeeding Apotheker, who presided over a 47 percent drop in Hewlett-Packard stock and sliced sales forecasts three times in less than a year. As the board deliberated changing CEOs, one consideration was whether share-price weakness would invite an unwelcome overture, the people close to the board said.

Full story: HP Said to Switch CEOs Amid Concern Share Slump Would Attract Oracle Bid