Yowza: EMC mulled merger with HP and possibly others, according to report

Here’s a barn burner even though it will (probably) never happen: EMC, under pressure from activist investors, pondered a gigantic “merger of equals” with Hewlett-Packard among other scenarios, according to the Wall Street Journal (registration required.) The talks, which reportedly occurred over the past year, broke down in recent weeks, but the possibility is worth noting.

According to the report, which cited unnamed sources:

The deal [company]EMC[/company] and [company]Hewlett-Packard[/company] discussed would have been a blockbuster, in part given that the two companies have a combined market value of nearly $130 billion. The deal they contemplated would have been an all-stock transaction billed as a merger of equals, one person familiar with the matter said.

Talks fell apart recently over concern that shareholders wouldn’t go for it, according to the report. But had it proceeded, EMC CEO and chairman Joe Tucci (pictured) would have been chairman and HP CEO Meg Whitman would have remained CEO of the combined company.

[company]Elliott Management[/company], the aforementioned activist investor, took a $1 billion stake in EMC earlier this year and is thought to be pressuring EMC to divest itself of its 80 percent stake in VMware. One scenario would be that once EMC’s “federation” of EMC, [company]Pivotal[/company], [company]RSA[/company] and [company]VMware[/company] was broken up, the pieces could be sold off to maximize shareholder value.That’s something Tucci, who built the federation to begin with, clearly would not want.

In 2012 Tucci, who was then 65, re-upped to stay on as EMC chairman and CEO, till at least February 2015.

Spokesmen from HP and EMC declined to comment on speculation.


emc federation

Note: this story was updated at 5:51 a.m. PST September 22, 2014, with response from HP and EMC spokespeople.