BY Richard Summerfield
Computing giant Hewlett Packard has unveiled plans to separate its business into two distinct publicly traded entities, one consisting of the company’s personal-computer and printer operations, the other its corporate hardware and services business. The division of the company will see HP shed around 5000 jobs and is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.
According to HP, the company’s software and services businesses will be known as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. The other side of the business – the PC and printing units – will be known as HP Inc, and will keep the existing HP logo. The firm’s incumbent chief executive, Meg Whitman, will continue to run Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and act as chairman of the PC and printing business. HP’s chief financial officer, Cathie Lesjak, will also remain with the enterprise company. Dion Weisler, current head of the printing and personal systems group, will lead HP Inc. Pat Russo will assume the role of chairman of HP Enterprise. “In short, by transitioning now from one HP to two new companies, created out of our successful turnaround efforts, we will be in an even better position to compete in the market, support our customers and partners, and deliver maximum value to our shareholders,” said Ms Whitman in a statement announcing the division.
HP is believed to have considered a separation of its PC business for some time. Indeed, in 2011 the firm announced that it was contemplating spinning off or selling its PC unit, allowing it to focus on selling servers and other equipment to business customers, much like competitor IBM had done six years earlier. However, the proposed spinoff was halted by spooked investors who felt that the separation would jeopardise both branches of the company. The plan was cancelled and the chief executive responsible for the proposal – Léo Apotheker – was dismissed.
Based on revenues generated during the last financial year, the separation of the HP units will create two roughly equally-sized firms. The company’s PC and printer businesses produced revenues of $55.9bn in its last financial year, almost identical to the combined $55.7bn of its enterprise computing, services and software divisions. In trading following the announcement, HP’s stock jumped nearly 5 percent.
HP’s announcement came just days after US e-commerce giant eBay Inc declared its intention to spin off its PayPal business into a separate publicly traded company in 2015.