Monday, September 13, 2010

Bigger fish are harder to acquire, and Hewlett Packard is finding more fish food

Remember my worthless speculation about who, other than Oracle, might want to try to acquire Hewlett Packard?

Well, it's a truism that if you have to avoid getting acquired by a bigger company, then you should get bigger yourself. And guess what HP is doing? The New York Times:

The computer maker Hewlett-Packard said Monday that it would buy ArcSight, a maker of security software, for about $1.5 billion as it continues its recent buying spree....

The ArcSight deal comes only two weeks after H.P. defeated Dell in a heated bidding war for 3Par, a data storage company. H.P. ultimately agreed to pay about $2 billion for 3Par, well above the $1.15 billion Dell initially offered for the company.

More here.

Now perhaps adding a billion here or a couple of billion there won't necessarily make Hewlett Packard harder for someone to acquire, but if HP continues to execute this strategy as much as...oh, as much as Oracle does...then HP increases its chances of staying independent.

Now of course things can go the other way, and a company may choose to make itself smaller - something that my former employer Motorola is in the process of doing right now, and something that one of my current company's competitors may be doing (not that I have anything to contribute on the matter, for obvious reasons - my current employer is a unit of Safran). The business world is filled with these rounds of consolidation and divestment, proceeding in an endless cycle.
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