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Does HP have $1bn worth of Bull?

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If you're inclined to believe published reports, then HP's set to buy French computer maker Bull.

Bull's shares jumped close to 8 per cent Thursday on speculation that HP will deliver a $1bn acquisition bid. The two companies are said to be in advanced talks, while Morgan Stanley and Freshfields help seal the deal to capture their closing fee.

Bull would fit in well enough with HP's operations. The company has a strong position in the European high performance and high-end computing market. And, like HP, Bull has centered its top gear around Intel's Itanium processor.

If HP felt more ambitious, it could get a bit more cash together and grab SGI as well, helping to put the Itanium "ecosystem" out of its misery.

One perk that comes with buying Bull is the French life support system, although the government may be less inclined to help out the firm with a US owner in charge. ®

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