Meg Whitman Says EMC-Dell Merger Is Good for HP Enterprise

Photograph by Richard Drew—AP

Tech rivals love to dish on Dell’s proposed $67 billion acquisition of EMC. In particular, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise chief executive Meg Whitman has taken several opportunities, including just after the deal was announced, to claim that confusion around the buy will benefit (wait for it) HPE.

That trend continued on HPE’s first-quarter earnings call Thursday when Whitman was asked about the deal’s impact. She again noted that HP and Dell have taken very different paths—HP has split into HP Enterprise, (HPE) for cloud computing, servers, storage, and associated services and HP Inc. (HPQ) for printers and PCs.

Dell, EMC, HP face huge cloud challenge

…we decided to get smaller while they got bigger. We decided to lean into new technology while they’re doubling down on old technology in a cost takeout play. They levered up while we de-levered [sic]. And we’re super-focused on being fast and nimble for our customers. So both strategies may work. I happen to like our hand better than the Dell-EMC hand.

Whitman said HP was already able to reap benefits from confusion over IBM’s sale of its low-end server business to Lenovo and is now replicating that with Dell-EMC (EMC).

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She also, again, took some veiled shots at the debt load Dell is assuming to make its purchase happen, claiming that HP is better able to invest in “innovation.”

…you have to think about Dell-EMC in many ways as owned by private equity. And you can do your own calculation on what you think the debt interest payments are going to be. For perspective, the entire EMC R&D budget is $2.7 billion. So we feel good about our hand. Two completely different strategies, but I like where we are.

Seeking Alpha has the full transcript of the call.

Given HP’s own busy M&A past, which includes massive buys like Compaq, Electronic Data Systems, and Autonomy, some might say Whitman’s in a glass house here. Then again, all of those deals happened before she was CEO. Whitman was, however on the HP board when the controversial $11 billion Autonomy deal was approved. And, times do change.

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Dell co-founder Michael Dell, who will be chief executive of the combined Dell-EMC, has generally, declined to respond to Whitman’s comments. Fortune has reached out to EMC for comment, and will update this post as needed.

But according to a recent Dell SEC filing which lays out the executive team of the merged company, both Dell and EMC “have a demonstrated ability to win in fast-changing markets. Being privately controlled, along with our investments in R&D and innovation, will give us unmatched scale, strength and flexibility …”

I guess, in other words: “So there.”

Note: this story was updated at 9:33 EST with the snippet from the SEC filing and again at 12:50 p.m. to correct the mis-statement that the SEC filing was from EMC. It was from Dell.

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