Technology companies typically don’t make the best targets for activist investors, given how quickly things can change in their business. And it’s hard to imagine anyone could mount a successful fight on a company with a $49 billion market value. But when it comes to Hewlett-Packard, all bets are off.
Given a series of incoherent moves and abrupt changes in direction, not to mention a precipitous loss of market value, HP’s board of directors probably deserves to be challenged on its decision making, which includes a botched firing of its last CEO, Mark Hurd, the hiring of a new CEO, Leo Apotheker, who 11 months into his tenure has yet to stick to a strategy, and Thursday’s earning miss.
But while an activist might receive a warm reception were they to come with a strong slate of directors led by a well-known chairman (where’s Lou Gerstner?), it’s still a long shot.