confirmed that it is considering paying $17 billion to $18 billion in cash and stock for the consulting unit of



The Wall Street Journal

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said H-P has been working on building its professional services offerings in an effort to provide its customers with comprehensive technology solutions by, in part, strengthening its consulting services. It has been adding about 200 consultants a month. Hewlett-Packard currently has about 6,000 consultants, while PricewaterhouseCoopers has more than 30,000.

In its latest quarter, Hewlett-Packard said it generated an operating profit of about $178 million on revenue of $1.8 billion.

Hewlett-Packard already has a relationship with the consulting unit, since it is currently H-P's auditor. The


said that relationship could be a complication for any deal because PricewaterhouseCoopers would have to change auditors.

Hewlett-Packard has been undergoing reorganization since Carly Fiorina became its chief executive officer last year. A year ago, Hewlett-Packard traded at $87.63. On Friday, it closed at $121.

Terms of a transaction have not been agreed upon.