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Europe approves HP purchase of EDS

Shareholder lawsuits settled

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In brief Hewlett-Packard has received the blessings of the European Commission to swallow the computer service giant Electronic Data Systems (EDS) without regulatory fuss.

It's also stuffed enough money into the mouths of naysaying investors to get the planned $13.9bn acquisition ready for a shareholder vote. In addition to an EU green light, HP says it has settled the five stockholder lawsuits filed after the massive services merger was announced.

As a part of the deal, HP and EDS have agreed not to close the merger before August 18, 2008. That leaves the EDS third quarter earnings dividend of 5 cents per share amongst its shareholders.

The acquisition has already passed the US regulatory waiting period without a request for further information by the US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission.

That leaves a few other jurisdictions where HP does business that still need to pass regulatory scrutiny, but it looks like a pretty clear shot to the EDS shareholder voting booth on July 31. ®

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