HP to face testy shareholders at annual meeting

In an apparent attempt to incite HP’s shareholders, Lynch urged them to use the meeting to ask Whitman and the rest of the HP’s board detailed questions about the circumstances surrounding the Autonomy deal in an open letter distributed Wednesday. Among other things, Lynch’s letter for the first time raised the possibility that HP may have approached U.K. regulators about how the company might be able to back out of the deal before the $10 billion acquisition closed in October 2011.

“This meeting provides a moment of accountability for HP’s board of directors to all its stakeholders,” Lynch wrote, adding that he refused to be turned into “a scapegoat for HP’s own failings.” Lynch won’t be at the meeting, according to one of his spokesmen.

Beyond its soured acquisitions, most of HP’s other troubles stem from a decline in PC sales as more technology spending shifts to smartphones and tablet computers. The upheaval has caused HP’s revenue to fall from the previous year in six consecutive quarters. Whitman has repeatedly warned the slump may persist through the rest of this year. To offset the drop-off in PC sales, Whitman has cut about 15,300 jobs in the past year and is still planning to eliminate about 14,000 more positions..

In the meantime, HP is expanding its lineup of tablet computers and intensifying its focus on other technology fields, such as business software and data analytics, that are more profitable than selling PCs.

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