PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) -- After months of legal wrangling and corporate fighting, Hewlett-Packard Co. is finally on the verge of closing its $18 billion acquisition of rival Compaq Computer Corp.
A Delaware judge ruled Tuesday that HP did nothing wrong in the bitter proxy fight over the Compaq deal, giving the giant computer and printer maker the vindication it had sought after former director Walter Hewlett sued in a final attempt to sink the merger.
Hewlett claimed that HP bullied a big investor into supporting the Compaq deal and lied to investors about the progress of the merger plans. Chancery Court Judge William B. Chandler III said Hewlett failed to prove his allegations in a three-day trial last week in Wilmington, Del.
"The evidence demonstrates that HP's statements concerning the merger were true, complete and made in good faith," Chandler wrote.
The decision prompted Hewlett, 57, to admit defeat. The son of HP cofounder William Hewlett said he will not appeal Chandler's decision and will abandon his challenge of the HP shareholder vote that the company won 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent -- one of the closest corporate elections in years.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors in New York also have been looking into some of Hewlett's allegations. But assuming there are no more obstacles, Palo Alto-based HP and Houston-based Compaq hope to begin working together May 7.
Chandler's ruling concluded another contentious chapter in Hewlett's fight to stop what would be the biggest merger in the history of the high-tech industry.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.