It didn't take long for Hewlett-Packard to respond to Walter Hewlett's latest media campaign to call off the proposed H-P and Compaq merger.

In a series of newspaper ads appearing February 22 in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and other major dailies, Hewlett charges that "HP management has a track record of being overly optimistic and sometimes wrong." The ad also criticizes H-P CEO Carly Fiorina for having "never led a transaction of this scale or complexity, but does have a record of failed integration and acquisitions attempts."

H-P responds: "Walter Hewlett has provided no credible support for his claim that his "plan/framework/guidelines/strategy" will increase the value of HP by $14 to $17 per share, which is irresponsible at a time when shareowners should expect unusually transparent and reliable disclosure from directors of public companies."

"In short, Walter Hewlett wants shareowners to believe he can virtually double HP's stock price in 18 months through a status quo approach with no cost savings. We don't understand how Walter Hewlett could make such baseless claims. We can only assume that his financial analysis is the work of his "independent" advisors who stand to gain $12 million if the merger is defeated and who have no understanding of HP's business and have not consulted with HP managers to substantiate their numbers." H-P still expects its $87 billion merger with Compaq to be approved by shareholders.

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