Revealed! The secret memos that ignited the HP/Compaq merger

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We can exclusively bring you the email correspondence that sparked the merger talks between Hewlett Packard and Compaq. Analysts have been puzzling how this unlikely pairing took place.

Now we can explain how the two industry giants embarked on their discussions, amidst great secrecy, earlier this summer:-

It began with an exploratory foray from the HP Chief Executive:-

From: "FIORINA, CARLY (HP-Cupertino)" <carly.fiorina@hp.com>
To: "thedon@compaq.com"
Subject: Merger template
Date: 28 July 2001
Attachment: Merger template.DOC

Hi! How are you?

I send you this file in order to have your advice!

See you later. Thanks

This produced a swift response from her Compaq counterpart:-

From: "Michael D. Capellas" <thedon@compaq.com>
To: "FIORINA, CARLY (HP-Cupertino)" <carly.fiorina@hp.com>
Subject: re: Merger template
Date: 31 July 2001


I'm surprised and delighted by your informal approach.

You'll recall that I mailed you back in March when I offered you the Alpha rights again. I wasn't hurt that you didn't reply. Scott still wasn't interested so Craig sent some people to work on a technology transfer. Which is great - I never could understand that junk.

I'm tremendously interested in a deal. We can get our people and your people to work out specifics.


Talks progressed swiftly, with the broad areas of the merger rapidly agreed upon. The details would - as Capellas indicated - be left to hand-picked executive teams later in the negotiations:-

From: "FIORINA, CARLY (HP-Cupertino)" <carly.fiorina@hp.com>
To: "Michael D Capellas" <thedon@compaq.com>
Subject: RE: re: Merger template
Date: 31 July 2001

OUT OF OFFICE REPLY --------------------------------

I'm out of the office this week.

My [@MACRO, INSERT=important] aides have alerted me to your email and [@MACRO, INSERT=vip] I think we should definitely [@MACRO, MARKUP=bold] get together at the earliest opportunity.

Carly Fiorina
Chief Executive Office
Hewlett Packard

From: "Michael D Capellas" <thedon@compaq.com>
To: >"FIORINA, CARLY (HP-Cupertino)" <carly.fiorina@hp.com>
Subject: Re: RE: re: Merger template
Date: 6 August 2001

Rock and Roll!

Let's get this sewn up right away. You know, we had a saying at Schlumberger - but I can't remember what it was. Something about logs, or grease. Whatever.

This a great opportunity. Let's not waste it.


And with that, the wheels were set in motion on the biggest IT merger of our times.

(On the other hand, if anyone has a more plausible explanation, we haven't yet heard it). ®

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