A Delaware judge cleared Hewlett-Packard Co of allegations it acted improperly in the proxy fight over its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. \nFormer HP director Walter Hewlett, who had fought to stop the US$18.4 billion deal, said he would not appeal the ruling, which likely paves the way for completion of the high-tech industry's biggest merger. \n"I will therefore now do everything possible to support the successful implementation of HP's acquisition of Compaq and encourage others who have shared my views in the past several months to do the same," the HP heir said in a statement Tuesday night. \nJudge William B. Chandler ruled Tuesday that Hewlett failed to support his charges that HP bullied a big investor into supporting the acquisition and lied to investors about the progress of the merger plans. \n"The evidence demonstrates that HP's statements concerning the merger were true, complete and made in good faith," wrote the Chancery Court judge, who presided over the three-day trial last week in Wilmington, Delaware. \nPalo Alto-based HP and Houston-based Compaq have said they plan to begin working together May 7. \nChandler's ruling concluded another contentious chapter in Hewlett's fight to stop the acquisition. "Clearly we're gratified," HP spokeswoman Rebeca Robboy said. "We look forward to moving on." \nAfter HP narrowly won its shareholder vote on the Compaq acquisition, Hewlett tried to block the deal by suing the computing giant, which his father, William Hewlett, co-founded in 1939. He sued in Delaware because HP is incorporated there. \nThat step so angered HP management and its other directors that Hewlett was not renominated for another term on the board, leaving the Silicon Valley institution without a Hewlett or Packard in its boardroom for the first time. \nA preliminary tally released two weeks ago found that HP won the shareholder vote 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent. That amounted to a lead of 45 million shares -- likely enough to withstand the disqualification of the 17 million to 24 million shares voted by Deutsche Bank, the investor Hewlett claims was coerced. \nThe tally was being challenged by both sides but Hewlett said Tuesday night he would abandon that effort as well. \nThe trial in Delaware featured 10 hours of testimony from HP's top two executives, CEO Carly Fiorina and chief financial officer Robert Wayman. \nHewlett alleged that HP threatened to withhold future investment banking business from Deutsche Bank unless the investment firm canceled its vote against the deal and voted for it at the last minute. \nIn a voice mail for Wayman two nights before the March 19 shareholder vote, Fiorina suggested they do something "extraordinary" for Deutsche Bank. \nThen in a conference call with Deutsche money managers about an hour before the shareholder vote began, Fiorina said their decision was "of great importance to our ongoing relationship." \nDeutsche Bank was performing a variety of services for HP, including giving "market intelligence" advice for US$1 million, with a US$1 million bonus contingent on the deal's approval. Deutsche's top investment official was recorded saying the firm's vote on the HP-Compaq deal was highly sensitive and needed to be changed "as fast as humanly possible." \nFiorina and Wayman said they asked Deutsche money managers to support the deal on its merits and did not resort to coercive tactics. \nThe judge agreed: "The plaintiffs can point to nothing in those exchanges that indicates a threat from management that future business would be withheld by HP from Deutsche Bank," he wrote. \nHowever, Chandler said the evidence raised troubling questions "about the integrity of the internal ethical wall that purportedly separates Deutsche Bank's asset management division from its commercial division." \nTo support his claim that HP misled investors about the chances the Compaq merger would generate its promised financial benefits, lawyers for Hewlett cited internal projections that showed the deal falling far short of its publicly disclosed targets. \nHewlett's team introduced internal memos from Compaq's chief financial officer, Jeff Clarke, calling the projections "ugly" and "a disaster." \nBut Clarke, Fiorina and Wayman testified that the negative comments were motivational ploys. They also said the weak projections were drawn up by HP and Compaq managers who intentionally set low targets they knew they could beat. \nThe judge said he found HP's explanation "compelling" and "corroborated by evidence in the record."
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.