Will HP sell its services business?

Hewlett-Packard Co. is getting calls from potential buyers interested in its services business and its troubled Autonomy acquisition.


Several suitors have approached Hewlett-Packard Co. about buying the services business it bought when it took over EDS in 2008, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The interest in HP Enterprise Services apparently is part of some overturns from buyers wanting to purchase Autonomy, the software company HP bought last year that is now accused of accounting improprieties in 2011.

The big question is whether HP CEO Meg Whitman is interested in selling either business. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that she is not.

Several factors have sparked interest in breaking up HP. One is that the company’s stock price is down by 64 percent over the last two years.

Interest from buyers got another boost from HP’s form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in December, a source told Washington Technology. In the risk factors section, HP said, “We also continue to evaluate the potential disposition of assets and businesses that may no longer help us meet our objectives.”

A third spark, the source said, has come from reports that Dell Inc. might consider a private equity buyout as a part of a plan to turn its business around.

While Autonomy is a recent acquisition of HP’s and theoretically should be easy to extract from the company, the old EDS business is deeply integrated and would be challenging to disentangle.

An HP spokesman declined comment saying the company does not respond to speculation.