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HP close to $13bn deal for EDS

13 мая 2008

Hewlett-Packard on Monday was close to a deal worth up to $13bn (£6.6bn) to buy Electronic Data Systems, one of the the world’s biggest IT services companies.

The deal would mark an attempt by Mark Hurd, HP’s chief executive, to challenge IBM’s dominance in IT services, of one of the technology industry’s most lucrative markets.

HP and EDS confirmed that they were in “advanced discussions”, but cautioned a deal might still not be consummated.

But sources close to the deal said HP was poised to pay $12bn-$13bn for the Texas-based services group, and that the two companies were working to secure the deal as soon as today.

EDS would become HP’s biggest acquisition since its $19bn merger with Compaq, a rival personal computer maker, in
2002, a deal that was controversial at the time but it now generally seen as a success. It would be nearly triple the $4.5bn Mr Hurd paid in 2006 for Mercury, a business software company, in what was his biggest acquisition to date.

EDS’s shares jumped by $5.27, or 28 per cent, to $24.13 on the news, valuing the company at $12.1bn. HP’s shares dropped 5 per cent to $46.64.

HP passed IBM 18 months ago to become the world’s biggest IT company by sales. But IBM retains the top spot in services, with IT outsourcing, design and maintenance of big corporate computer systems, and other IT services accounting for about 56 per cent of its $98.8bn in annual sales last year.

An HP-EDS deal would mark the culmination of long-standing speculation about the fate of EDS, which was founded in 1962 by Ross Perot, who later went on to be an independent US presidential candidate.

EDS was instrumental in creating the technology outsourcing industry. It was later bought by General Motors but spun off again in a restructuring in the mid-1990s. EDS threw out chairman and chief executive Dick Brown five years ago after he set it on an ambitious expansion by bidding aggressively on giant outsourcing contracts, some of which came back to haunt it.

In 2003 and 2004, EDS suffered a series of setbacks in the UK, where it had long been the government’s biggest IT contractor. It lost a £3bn contract to run the Inland Revenue’s IT services and pulled out of the bidding for a lucrative contract with the National Health Service.

JPMorgan was advising HP, and Citigroup was advising EDS, according to people close to the deal.

Источник: Financial Times

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