HP apes Hewlett in online battle

Anything you can do...

Anything you can do...

HP has stepped up its battle against renegade board member Walter Hewlett with the launch of a website to argue its case in the increasingly dirty saga of its merger with Compaq.

Following hot on the heals of the launch of Hewlett's site to promote his opposition to the merger of the two companies, HP has introduced its own.

On his site, Hewlett tells investors: "We are convinced that a merger with Compaq will significantly diminish the value of your investment in Hewlett-Packard on both a short-term and a long-term basis."

HP's approach is more aggressive and interactive. Visitors to the site are encouraged to sign up for email alerts and spread the 'positive' news of the merger to friends.

Visitors are told: "The closer you look, the more you will see that the merger of HP and Compaq is the single best way to strengthen our businesses ... and increase the value of your investment."

Yesterday HP warned that even if the merger does not go ahead there will be layoffs at the Palo Alto company. Previous warnings from HP suggested that the combined company would axe 15,000 jobs to cut costs.

It has also been revealed that HP's head honcho and the driving force of the proposed merger, Carly Fiorina notched up stock options in 2001 worth $13.5m on top of her $1m salary. Fiorina also cost the company roughly $250,000 in expenses including more than $40,000 on the use of HP's aircraft.

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