Hewlett family members and their related foundation said they intend to vote their Hewlett Packard (HP) company shares against the proposed merger with Compaq.
Walter Hewlett, son of founder William Hewlett and a member of HP's board, said in a statement: "After careful deliberation, consultation with my financial advisor and consideration of developments since the announcement of the merger, I have decided to vote against the transaction.
"I firmly believe that partnering with Compaq will not give HP what it needs most to create additional stockholder value."
Walter Hewlett, Eleanor Hewlett Gimon and Mary Hewlett Jaffe are the children of William Hewlett. Together with the William Hewlett Revocable Trust, they own more than 100 million shares of HP stock, which represents about five per cent of the company's shares.
It is not immediately clear how many other HP board members share a similar position, specifically the Packard family which owns 10 per cent of HP's stock.
Walter Hewlett, who originally voted in favour of the merger as an HP director, said that Compaq has too much exposure in lower-priced servers and in support of services.
"The uncertainty created by the merger could cause existing and potential customers to delay orders or to purchase products from HP's competitors, which could have a significant and long-term adverse effect on revenues," he said. "I believe HP is better off concentrating on higher-end servers and outsourcing and consulting."
HP said it is committed to the merger and that it expects shareholders to support it despite plans by the Hewlett family to vote against the deal.
"While we regret very much the Hewlett family's decision, we are not surprised," HP management said in a statement. "The HP board of directors and HP and Compaq remain fully committed to the merger and expect shareholder approval."
HP said it would file a shareholder proxy in the next few days. A Compaq spokeswoman said: "We remain committed to the HP merger."
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