HP gains ground in proxy vote war

ISS blesses merger

HP got a much-needed shot in the arm yesterday with proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) coming out in favour of the Compaq takeover.

CEO Carly Fiorina was so delighted that she promptly held a teleconference with analysts to tell them just how delighted she was.

ISS is described by HP as America's leading independent proxy advisory firm. It recommends HP and Compaq for their "pioneering work" in integration planning - more than half a million man hours (our italics) to date. It reckons that the HP/Compaq projections for cost savings and on combined revenues are reasonable, and it advises shareholders to vote for the merger.

Compaq shareholders get their chance on March 20 - that's a done deal. The altogether more exciting HP vote is on March 19. ®

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