HP is considering buying IT outsourcing firm EDS for as much as £6.5bn, according to The Wall Street Journal.
HP wants to expand its services business, and EDS has struggled of late to deliver good returns on some major US and UK government contracts. Last September, EDS said it would be shedding a further 12,000 staff.
After news of HP's move leaked, both companies issued similar statements confirming the possibility of a deal, but neither spelt out whether it was a straight acquisition on the table.
HP said it was "engaged in advanced discussions with Electronic Data Systems regarding a possible business combination involving the two companies".
It said, "There can be no assurances that an agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated. HP does not intend to comment further until an agreement is reached or discussions are terminated."
EDS said, "In response to market rumours, Electronic Data Systems is in advanced discussions regarding a possible business combination transaction with Hewlett-Packard.
"There can be no assurance that a definitive agreement will be entered into."