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UK users will stick with HP and Compaq through merger

Daniel Thomas
Hewlett-Packard and Compaq users in the UK have given their backing to the planned $20bn (£14bn) merger of the two IT giants, despite negative reaction from analysts and the Hewlett family.

A survey of HP and Compaq buyers, representing 110 UK organisations, revealed that 76% of respondents said they had reacted to news of the merger positively.

Some 94% said they were likely to continue buying products from the two companies, while 82% said the merger would have no effect on their IT spending plans.

The results of the survey, carried out by HP and Compaq reseller WStore, are surprising in view of the initial reaction from industry experts and analysts, who said the overlap between the two companies would confuse users.

Both companies have similar offerings in PCs, enterprise servers and IT services, for example, and analysts have said this could lead to problems.

One in four respondents did express some concern over the merger. Consolidation of the two companies product lines and service and support were cited as the two main matters respondents were seeking reassurance on.

The merger itself was thrown into serious doubt last week when Walter Hewlett, the son of the company founder and HP board member, said he would vote against the deal.

Hewlett, who is also the chairman of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, said the family's 5% stake would be used to try and stop the merger, citing a number of reasons including the problems of integration and the declining outlook for Compaq's business since the deal was announced.

HP said it would continue to work to push the merger through. "While we regret very much the Hewlett family's decision, we are not surprised," the firm said. "The HP board and HP and Compaq remain fully committed to the merger and expect shareholder approval."
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