NEW YORK (
) -- Meg Whitman has been in the CEO spot less than a week but
is reportedly already moving to keep activist investors off her back.
, the tech giant has hired
to advise it on better defending itself against pressure from such investors, who typically purchase significant stakes in a company then lobby for major changes, such as replacing the board or seeking a sale.
noted that oftentimes a so-called "poison pill" plan is put in place in these situations that gives existing shareholders certain voting rights if an outside investor moves to acquire a large amount of the company's outstanding stock. A typical trigger for a rights plan is a 15% stake.
Goldman declined comment for the article, while an HP spokesperson was quoted by the
as saying the company "has long-term relationships with a large number of investment banks."
HP, whose stock is down more than 40% so far in 2011,
Apotheker, who took over for Mark Hurd, spent less than a year on the job and was facing widespread criticism of the direction he was taking the company, especially floating the idea to spin off the company's personal computer business and the costly agreement to acquire
, a U.K.-based developer of information management software, for $10.3 billion in a deal that's expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
HP shares closed Wednesday at $23.19, down 1.7%, but the stock saw an after-hours pop of 1.3% to $23.49 on volume of less than 200,000, according to
. The Dow component is slated to report its fiscal fourth-quarter results on Nov. 21.
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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