Hewlett-Packard Heir Abandons Opposition To Compaq Merger

By Agence France-Presse Walter Hewlett, heir to one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard Co., said late on April 30 he would no longer oppose the computer giant's merger with rival Compaq Computer Corp. after a Delaware judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block it. Earlier, Delaware Chancery Court Judge William Chandler dismissed Hewlett's lawsuit. Hewlett had argued the March 19 shareholders vote was tainted by misrepresentations by HP management and threats or promises made to a big institutional investor, Deutsche Bank. "After reviewing the Court's opinion, we have decided not to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Delaware," Hewlett said in a statement. "I will therefore now do everything possible to support the successful implementation of HP's acquisition of Compaq and encourage others who have shared my views in the past several months to do the same," he added. Hewlett's decision clears a major obstacle to the merger, which was approved by company shareholders by a narrow margin of 51.4% to 48.6%, based on a preliminary count. The evidence presented at last week's trial "failed to prove that HP disseminated materially false information about its integration efforts or about the financial data provided to its shareholders," Chandler wrote in a 43-page decision. The judge accepted the company's interpretation of the facts of the case and gave no credence to any of the allegations made by Walter Hewlett, making a potential appeal more difficult. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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