Compaq won't seek second merger if H-P deal sinks

Compaq Computer won't seek another buyer if its $21.3 billion merger with Hewlett-Packard falls through, Compaq CEO Michael Capellas says.

H-P is the "only deal for Compaq. I can't see any other combination in the industry that makes sense," a confident Capellas said in an hourlong interview. He was touring the West Coast to build support for what would be the largest deal in personal-computer history.

Capellas says he noticed a shift in momentum for the deal a month ago, when both companies posted better-than-expected financial results. "Investors gained confidence after they looked at this a second or third time," he said.

H-P shareholders vote on the deal March 19; Compaq shareholders on March 20.

Still, Compaq and H-P are leaving nothing to chance in the final hectic days of the increasingly bitter proxy fight. They are selling the deal with "excruciating details" after initially failing to show its benefits, says Compaq co-founder and former chairman Ben Rosen.

H-P and Compaq officials are working overtime to sway Institutional Shareholder Services, the influential adviser whose clients own 57% of H-P's shares. ISS will decide as early as Thursday where it stands on the merger. "We've been in constant contact the past few weeks with champions and critics of the deal," says ISS Vice President Pat McGurn.

News source: USA Today

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