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Vote favors $13.9bn acquisition

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Hewlett-Packard's proposed $13.9bn purchase of the computer services giant Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has been overwhelmingly approved by its shareholders.

EDS said about 98.8 per cent of the company's shares of common stock were in favor of the acquisition. That number represents about 72 per cent of total EDS outstanding shares.

Votes were tallied during a special meeting of stockholders held this morning — lasting only 15 minutes before closing.

EDS CEO Ron Rittenmeyer took questions from shareholders and employees after the meeting, but the session was closed to reporters.

The deal itself will be finalized no sooner than August 18, as agreed by recent settlements of five shareholder lawsuits related to the buyout. EDS said it expects the transaction will close in the third quarter of 2008.

EDS and HP have already received clearance to merge by European Union and US regulatory authorities. The deal still requires approval in other countries the companies have their hands in, but this is likely to arrive soon. ®

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