SAN FRANCISCO – Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. said on Friday that their record-breaking merger was on track despite this week's terror attacks and the virtual standstill in financial activity.
``We had no plans to do a roadshow this week to tell the merger story to the investor community. Plans are being made to do that in the near future,'' said HP spokesman Dave Berman.
Hijacked commercial airplanes destroyed the two World Trade Center towers in the heart of the New York financial district and damaged the Pentagon on Tuesday, shutting down financial markets and much of the U.S. economy.
A week earlier, HP had announced plans to take over Compaq in the largest technology merger ever, a deal which was panned on Wall Street and sent share prices in both firms sharply lower.
Berman said talks aimed at winning investor backing for the deal would go on despite the tragedy, although he was not sure of the schedule.
``I can't see any reasonable impact that this would have on the merger at this point. Hopefully, business will be back pretty close to normal very soon,'' he said.
A Compaq spokesman said his company had postponed a Tuesday employee meeting and that executives would speak with industry analysts on Sept. 19 by telephone rather than in person in Boston, as originally planned.
But otherwise the merger is moving ahead, he said, noting that anti-trust regulators in the United States and Europe must still clear the transaction.
``There's been no impact in terms of the merger activities as the result of this,'' said the Compaq spokesman.
The firms announced plans on Sept. 3 to merge into a giant rivaling IBM in sales and poised to take the No. 1 rank in the market for PCs away from Dell Computer Corp.
Investors were skeptical that the two firms can be integrated smoothly without creating opportunities for competitors. The resulting drop in HP's share price took the value of the all-stock deal to some $19 billion as of Monday's close, when shares last traded, down from an original $25 billion.
``I think most of the damage has been done to the stock,'' said Harshal Shah, a portfolio manager at Fremont Investment Advisors in San Francisco, but the merger could be complicated if the economy slows as a result of this week's events.
If spending by businesses and households slows in coming months -- an outcome some analysts see as likely -- that could make it harder to make the merger work, he said.
``Hewlett/Compaq is going to be even more exposed,'' he said.