It shouldn't be called "mergers and acquisitions." It's more like "mergers and acquisitions… and rumors… and speculation." Ever since last week's announcement that Hewlett Packard plans to buy the software data mining company Autonomy rumors and speculation has been, uh, let's just say, thick.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. With HP's stock sinking like a stone, HP is now vulnerable itself to a takeover bid. The best rumor being that Oracle is sharpening its knives and waiting to move in for the kill. This one is especially interesting since Larry Ellison’s new right hand guy is Mark Hurd, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, who left in disgrace just nine months ago. Reality check: It’s so delicious that it sounds like wishful thinking to me. This is one of those “I hope it’s true, because following it would be my new cable TV” kinds of rumors.
2. Samsung may be positioning itself to buy HP’s PC unit. Reality check: This one actually makes sense. But, again, it’s all gas. This rumor is a "fill in the blank" rumor. Just substitute the name "Toshiba" or "Sony" in the "Samsung" part and you get the idea.
3. Dell is not interested in buying HP’s PC unit, because it’s too busy gloating over the whole thing instead. Dell CEO and Founder, Michael Dell, made headlines during recent days over a series of Tweets poking fun at HP, including the tongue in cheek suggestion that perhaps when HP spins off its PC unit it will be called "Compaq." Meow! Reality check: I think the lady doth protest too much. If Dell can figure out a way to buy HP’s PC unit, they will.
4. Forget the PC unit. Forget even the printers unit. The real gold to be mined out of HP’s software makeover is the patents from WebOs. That’s the speculation from tech oracle, Robert Scoble, who points out WebOS (that HP is officially mothballing) comes with 2000 mobile patents. 2000 patents may seem like a paltry number compared to Google’s deal to buy Motorola Mobility that comes with some 25,000 patents. However, most of Motorola’s patents are prehistoric compared to WebOS’s much more current Smartphone patents. Scoble speculates that the likes of Google or Microsoft or even Apple would be obvious choices to swoop in and buy off that piece of the HP Empire. Any of those players acquiring such a patent portfolio would likely have a huge impact on the Smartphone landscape for years to come, as well. Reality check: It’s the Scobleizer. Need I say more? As usual he makes very good sense and has the deep sources to backup his methane.
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