Board directors at Compaq and Hewlett Packard (HP) have created a sub-committee designed solely to win approval for the proposed merger. The move comes as HP faces a series of attacks from its original founders' heirs, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.
At a board meeting held in Houston on Thursday, Compaq's board of directors agreed to support HP in its bid to get backing for the deal from Wall Street and other investors.
So far, investors with about 18 per cent of HP's stock have slated the merger, including HP board member Walter Hewlett and The Packard Foundation.
In response, HP board member Richard Hackborn, a former HP executive of 33 years, resigned from the Hewlett Foundation, a post he had held for six years, because it now represented a "conflict of interest".
According to Compaq board member Thomas Perkins, the plan is to involve Compaq more with joint presentations to shareholders and Wall Street. He said there had been a feeling that HP was taking all the flak on the deal while Compaq simply was "cheering on the sidelines".
Perkins added that the companies have more ideas on projects which they will be doing together, but said he could not disclose them. The sub-committee will hold weekly meetings, either on the phone or in person.
Industry analysts have suggested that HP certainly needs help in getting its message across.
So far the only significant comments have been from board member Bob Knowling who, in a stunning display of bad taste, likened the company's employees' handling of the merger to the way in which New Yorkers handled the horrific effects of the terrorist attacks on 11 September.
Knowling wrote a letter to HP and Compaq staff, which was posted on HP's website and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
"On a different level and scale, I do see a parallel in the notion that, while the media continues to focus on this HP/Compaq deal, the employees of both of these great companies have the challenge of continuing to focus on and serve the customer in spite of all the noise and distraction," it said.
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