Dell and HP may still do a deal

HP CEO Meg Whitman Visits China
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman yesterday predicted that Dell’s $64 billion purchase of EMC Corp. (EMC) will result in “chaos,” thus creating a “real opportunity for HP.” At the same time, Re/Code reported that Dell explored a sale of its PC business before signing the EMC agreement, but couldn’t find any takers.

Despite the shade and failure, don’t be surprised if HP and Dell’s PC unit don’t eventually get married.

HP (HPQ) reportedly was among those that passed on Dell’s offer, but that was primarily because it was in the final stages of splitting into a pair of separate companies. That process is set to wrap up at the end of this month, after which HP Inc. will sell PCs and printers, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise will sell servers and other business hardware. Whitman will be leading the latter company, and serve as non-executive chairman of the former.

The incoming CEO of HP Inc., Dion Weisler, also said yesterday that Dell would be “distracted,” and urged his sales teams to “aggressively pursue Dell accounts” — but was a bit more measured in his language than was Whitman. My guess is that was because Weisler wanted to make sure not to burn bridges, so that he can scoop up Dell’s PC business once the HP split has occurred and had a bit of time to solidify.

HP Inc. is the single most logical landing spot for Dell’s PC business, as they are number one and number two, respectively, in terms of market share (albeit a sinking market, as Dell’s gross profit for the segment fell 26% in the first half of its latest fiscal year). Moreover, Dell still has plenty of reason to sell, since proceeds could be used to pay down the massive pile of debt that it will amass from the EMC merger. Moreover, the EMC deal makes it even clearer that Dell views itself as more of an enterprise tech company than a consumer one.

Now all we need to do is wait for this second shoe to drop…

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