Once again, we turn a gimlet eye to eMeg Whitman, CEO of HP. As you may recall, as CEO of eBay, Whitman bought Skype (but didn’t buy the source code or the rights to the source code? Oy!) and later spun it off back to the founders for a very discounted price. Whitman’s attention to detail cost the company something in the neighborhood of $1B. Chump change.
Since then, eMeg’s retired, failed in a run for Governor of California (Buy it NOW!), come out of retirement presumably to lead venerable HP to new heights after playing Iago to former CEO Leo Apotheker’s Othello, who took over from Mark Hurd after some sort of sex scandal, who took over from Carly Fiorina who pretty much screwed the pooch when she wasn’t busy firing everyone as a matter of HP policy. Oh, eMeg has retained that policy to this day (35,000 people to be laid off, and with the new strategy—see below—that number is estimated to jump to 50,000).
Amongst her many memorable decisions, eMeg declared that HP needed a smartphone, but had already spiked Palm’s Web OS, acquired under Hurd; Apotheker had overpaid for Autonomy (and I believe to this day Meg is still litigating with shareholders and Autonomy’s founder over the shenanigans instead of trying to settle it), and of course, she used his plans to break the company apart to fire Leo and assume control of the company herself. Break HP apart! No one would ever do such a thing!
So as of this morning, that is her plan: what Leo said.
The company essentially will break into two parts: Printers & PCs (the cash cow for now, but not forever) and Corporate/Enterprise Solutions (which is probably mostly consulting? It is hard to follow all the threads).
There was a great story over the weekend about how HP tried to find partners to acquire each of the two entities, but nobody wanted them. Nobody:
The decision comes after a failed attempt at what it called “asset optimization,” an exercise led by Morgan Stanley to help it find buyers of units that it no longer saw as core to its strategy of expanding the selling of computing hardware, software and services to large companies.
HP approached both Lenovo and Dell about the possible sale of its $32 billion (2013 sales) PC operation. In both cases it was rebuffed.
In another case, HP approached two India-based companies, Wipro and Infosys about the possible sale of its $28 billion IT services unit, known as Enterprise Services. Again it was rebuffed.
In a third case, it approached IBM about the sales of its $1.2 billion Business Critical Server business, but was turned down.
But not to worry: Whitman will be the chairman of the board for one of them, and the CEO of the other, so she is covered both coming and going and her little princlings in Atherton will never have to worry about the next baby Lear Jet.
(Hat tip: Scissorhead Moeman in the tip line)