September 24, 2011

An HP takeover? Would Dell buy? Is Yahoo? Would AOL?

The Yahoo rumors were fueled by a leaked email from former CEO Jerry Yang. But, to me, a sale of Hewlett-Packard, with possible spinoff of part of it, makes just as much sense.

It's clear that HP is caught between two stools, and along with all the other disfunctionality of its board, it is in the middle of that being trapped between different visions.

It hired Apotheker, I guess, on the idea that he would make it into more of a business services company, but didn't like how he was doing that. I think it's viable either continuing to go down that road, or going back down the road of personal products, including bringing back the tablets, but not both.

Rather than a self-orchestrated split, a takeover by another company, with one of the two halves being "spun off," makes sense.

Dell has been behind the curve recently, with somewhat bland performance. Adding HP, and primarily to enter the tablet market, then selling other parts of the country, would make sense.

On the business side, I think an Oracle- or Sun-type company would value it less.

Now, back to Yahoo.

Microsoft is only buying it on terms more draconian than before. AOL/Huffington Post would be an intriguing suitor; integrating Yahoo's search with its stable of serf writers could be a smart business move. It would be a way of attempting to do an end run, or run at, Google's pre-eminence in news (or quasi-news) content.

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