Compaq and HP join forces in £17bn deal -- and other news

Compaq falls to $22bn bid by Hewlett-Packard

Compaq falls to $22bn bid by Hewlett-Packard

All the papers give prominence to the news that Compaq and Hewlett-Packard, the two IT giants, are joining forces in a deal worth an estimated £17bn. The papers also note the announcement that the merger may well cost some 15,000 jobs as the two companies rationalise product lines, production facilities and management structures.

The Daily Telegraph focuses on Carly Fiorina, the chairwoman and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard and the first female head of a Dow Jones company, while the Financial Times predicts the HP/Compaq deal will spark a takeover boom among smaller IT companies.

Simpson ousted as meltdown continues at Marconi
The news that Lord Simpson is to leave his position as chief executive of Marconi gets widespread coverage. His departure is part of an operational review that will also see 2,000 job losses and write-offs of more than £4bn. Simpson departs with a £1m pay-off and pension entitlements worth another £1m.

Mike Parton, the head of Marconi's networks division, steps up to take the peer's place. The Times has a short piece citing Lord Simpson as an example of the failure of another New Labour favourite. Tony Blair ennobled Simpson in 1997, along with Lord Stone of Blackheath, who went on to take early retirement from Marks & Spencer as the retail group's fortunes slumped.

Ericsson sees shares fall on gloomy economic forecast
Only The Times fails to give prominence to mobile phone maker Ericsson's gloomy economic forecast for next year, which saw the company's shares drop 13%.

Mobile phone users at greater risk of brain tumours
The Daily Telegraph, Times and Independent all highlight the news that Sir William Stewart, a former chief scientific adviser to the government, has accused mobile phone companies of being irresponsible by aiming advertising at children. The Independent runs with a front-page story that draws attention to Swedish research which has found that people who used a mobile phone for two or more hours a day during the 1980s and 1990s have a "significantly raised" risk of developing a brain tumour.

Hutchinson admits risk over 3G
The Financial Times reports that Hutchinson Whampoa, the Hong Kong company, has admitted it may have to risk its own balance sheet to secure lending for a 3G mobile phone subsidiary in Italy.

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