The relationship between the pro-merger camp and the pro-independence camp at HP is becoming more acrimonious, with allegations over the weekend that dissident director, Walter Hewlett, had approached former HP chief executive Lew Platt to return as interim boss.
That scenario would play out if the merger plan was voted down and present CEO, Carly Fiorina, quit.
Neither Platt nor Hewlett would comment on whether exploratory talks had taken place, but HP issued a statement that said such action by Walter Hewlett "lacks integrity and reflects desperation".
It continued: "Walter Hewlett obviously intends to mislead and distract shareowners by raising this issue. His unilateral action, without conferring with his fellow board members, to publicly engage in an attack on the CEO position and to recruit for that position, is a blemish on the character and quality of HP.
"All of HP's directors other than Walter Hewlett have declared their unequivocal support for Carly Fiorina, and believe that his calls for her departure are presumptuous, baseless and irresponsible."
Earlier in the week, in a 48-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission - under the headline 'Next Steps if Merger Voted Down' - Walter Hewlett proposed the appointment of a CEO search committee, an interim CEO, a new board chairman and the nomination of new board members.
The filing did not mention any names.
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