Hewlett Packard (HP) chief executive Carly Fiorina, and her counterpart at Compaq, Michael Capellas, may have a financial interest in ensuring that the proposed merger goes ahead, according to a leading critic.
Walter Hewlett, an heir of the original founders, said that Fiorina and Capellas stood to receive compensation packages in excess of $115m if HP's acquisition of the rival PC maker is successful.
Hewlett said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday that this figure is far higher than the $8m and $14.4m retention bonuses that Fiorina and Capellas had made public.
Although they have since declined the payments, Hewlett's implication is that the executives had originally stood to gain substantially from the deal.
HP has maintained that employment agreements for new executives would only be agreed after the acquisition was completed.
In a statement the company accused Hewlett of disseminating misinformation about non-existent employment terms for HP and Compaq senior executives. "Hewlett is again attempting to mislead investors, but worse than his usual flip-flop, it is plainly deceptive," it said.
Fiorina will today approach investors to support the company's controversial $21.2bn acquisition plan. The meeting comes just a day after Brandes Investment Partners, which owned about 1.3 per cent of HP's shares at the end of last year, voted against the deal.
Combined with the stakes owned by the founders' families and associated foundations, about 19.7 per cent of HP shareholders are now against the merger.
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