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HP in talks to buy PWC's consulting biz for $18 billion

Chasing service big bucks

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Hewlett-Packard is in talks to shell out $18 billion for Price Waterhouse Coopers' consulting arm.

The PC heavyweight today confirmed it wanted PWC's global management and IT consulting practice to boost its service offerings.

Talks are still at early stages, and "significant issues remain to be resolved" according to a statement by HP. But a cash and share deal of between $17 billion and $18 billion is being contemplated.

The California PC maker said the buyout would add to its estimated 15 per cent growth rate, and would probably slightly cut into its earnings per share for 2001.

PWC is currently HP's independent accountant, a situation which would have to end if talks progress due to auditor independence requirements. If the deal goes ahead, it will be HP's first big acquisition since Carly Fiorina became its head honcho last year. ®

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