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August 18, 2011

HP to Make $10 Billion Software Company Acquisition, Spin Off Computer Business: Report

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Shares of Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) reversed their nosedive early Thursday afternoon following a Bloomberg report that says the computer giant is poised to acquire British business software company Autonomy Corp. for an astounding $10 billion. When judging by market cap, Autonomy is the largest software company in the U.K.

If that weren't enough, unnamed sources also told Bloomberg (News - Alert) that HP is planning on spinning off its personal computer business, which has struggled recently with the influx of tablets and other Web-enabled consumer devices.

The California-based company may announce its plans as early as this afternoon, before it unveils its quarterly earnings report at the close of business today.

Shares of HP jumped up 6 percent following the publication of the report, and then leveled off to around a 2 percent gain as of 12:45 p.m. The stock was one of the worst performers of the day in early morning trading, says the Wall Street Journal.

If the report is accurate, the news could divert attention away from what it expected to be a fairly meager earnings report. The faltering of the personal computer market, along with the poor initial performance of HP's TouchPad tablet, has highlighted a rocky year for the company.

An unnamed source told All Things Digital that retail giant Best Buy (News - Alert) has so far sold only 25,000 TouchPads, representing less than 10 percent of its initial inventory. A second source corroborated the claim, but added that the estimate might be “charitable” as it may not include units that were returned to the store for a refund.

Stay tuned to TMC (News - Alert) for updates throughout the day.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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