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HP's board have discussed splitting up the company on three separate occasions, Carly Fiorina, CEO, revealed yesterday. She told a meeting of financial analysts: "The board looked at this analytically and dispassionately and in detail three separate times...and each time the board...came to the same, unanimous conclusion," Reuters reports.

Fiorina made the disclosure in response to a question from Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich who has repeatedly called for the firm to be split up. HP's printer business deliver the lion's share of group profits. Plagued by uneven recent financial performance HP has been under pressure from investors for some time. Some observers also believe separating its consumer and business divisions would improve profitability.

Fiorina warned that such a process would incur "real costs" and take years to achieve. She pointed out that HP's spin-off of Agilent in 1999, which raised $2bn was only finally completed three months ago. ®

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