Hewlett-Packard made a massive, $100 billion offer to buy rival Dell today in an attempt to create the world’s largest PC maker.
The surprising move comes amidst a fierce bidding war for control of the company between a consortium of investors led my founder Michael Dell, activist investor Carl Icahn, and private equity group Blackstone.
Although analysts are not entirely surprised by HP’s bid given its history of large acquisitions, the price tag has come as a bit of a shock.
“$100 billion is four times the offer that’s currently on the table,” explains Jerome Cahuzac, a technology equities analyst at BNP Paribas in New York. “It’s almost like they thought they could only bid in increments of 100.”
HP says that not a single bank agreed to provide financing for the deal at that price, so to pay for the acquisition it well sell off its profitable printer division and growing enterprise services group.
“This is such a fantastic opportunity for us,” says CEO Meg Whitman. “We really need to think long term. Yes, printers and services are making money now – but where’s the growth gonna be? It seems to me that Windows based personal computers are the wave of the future.
“We’re number one in that market, and Dell is number two. Together we can dominate the space for shitty, generic personal computers. Lenovo is gonna eat our dust.”
A spokeswoman for Lenovo, however, attempted to read a statement saying the company had no comment on HP’s offer – but burst out laughing before she could finish.
Dell’s board is expected to approve the deal in the coming days. One major shareholder said the offer was a deal of a lifetime.
“I can’t believe one company can be so stupid,” says Nick Anderson of Peyote Capital Partners. “But thank God. I’m buying myself a yacht.”
Hewlett-Packard was once a dominant force in computing, but has seen its position erode in recent years due to strategic mistakes and a series of disastrous mergers.