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The Hewlett Foundation, which opposes the proposed Sircam merger with Compaq, has sold 5.5 million shares in HP and an undisclosed number in HP's Agilent division. It leaves the Foundation, controlled by leading merger dissident Walter Hewlett, holding 36.5 million shares. As these are voting shares, Hewlett has less clout than he did before the sale.

But it's a more complex arrangement than first appears: in all, the Foundation will acquire over a hundred million shares from the Hewlett family trust, giving Walter more rather than less board leverage, should he wish to stick around.

"We think this deal is so fundamentally bad that it will be defeated by a huge margin, not a close margin," Hewlett's advisor told the Mercury News. ®

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