HP takes itself out of the market

Contact: Brenon Daly

Over its two previous fiscal years, Hewlett-Packard has spent more than $20bn on a dozen acquisitions, with five of them costing the tech giant more than $1bn each. Those days are over, according to recently named CEO Meg Whitman. In her first conference call discussing quarterly financial results on Monday, Whitman told investors not to expect any ‘major M&A’ in the current fiscal year, which runs through the end of next October. That means HP will look to ink deals valued mostly at less than $500m, she added later in the call.

That conservative M&A plan comes as HP enters what Whitman described as a ‘reset and rebuilding year.’ Both revenue and earnings are projected to slide in the current fiscal year, but HP didn’t offer specifics on the decline. The company scrapped its revenue forecast altogether, while saying only that it expected to earn ‘at least’ $4 in non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS), compared to $4.88 in non-GAAP EPS in the just-completed fiscal year. With roughly two billion shares outstanding, that indicates HP will likely net at least $1bn less this year than last year. No wonder HP isn’t in the mood to go shopping these days.