HP, EMC mega-deal falls apart over lack of shareholder support

September 22, 2014, 4:44 PM UTC
contract armin harris
Kyle Bean for Fortune

How would a mega-merger with massive data-storage company EMC Corporation have played into Meg Whitman’s ongoing turnaround project at Hewlett-Packard? The business world may never get an answer, with merger talks between the two companies reportedly dead after nearly a year of sporadic discussions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Citing anonymous sources, WSJ said on Sunday evening as saying it was unlikely the deal talks would rekindle in what could have been an all-stock merger bringing together two companies with a combined market value of more than $128 billion. EMC has also reportedly held deal talks with Dell, while Cisco Systems and Oracle Corporation have also been cited as potential suitors for the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based company, WSJ says.

Reports suggest that deal talks between HP and EMC fell apart due to concerns over shareholder support as well as the companies’ inability to reach an agreement on financial terms of a potential deal.

As Fortune noted over the summer, EMC has recently been under pressure to break itself apart following a public appeal from an activist shareholder – hedge fund manager Elliott Management, which revealed a $1 billion investment in EMC in July. Elliott had been pushing for a spin-off of EMC’s 80% stake in publicly-traded software VMware as a way to boost EMC’s share value. EMC’s stock has jumped nearly 10.7% since Elliott’s stake was first reported this summer and the company’s shares have gained more than 18% so far this year.

EMC’s future is also in flux with the expected retirement of longtime CEO Joe Tucci, who has said he will call it quits early next year after about 14 years at the helm, though he has previously delayed his retirement.

Meanwhile, HP’s Whitman (No. 6 on Fortune’s most recent Most Powerful Women list) has maintained that she would not complete her company’s ongoing turnaround until sometime in 2016, but the company did recently put out third-quarter sales numbers that showed growth for the first time in more than three years. HP’s computer sales have also rebounded, jumping 11.6% in the third quarter, even as the company looks to shift focus to growth areas such as “cloud” computing. EMC has also tried expanding its cloud software services in recent years, including through the 2007 acquisition of cloud-based online backup service Mozy.