SEC H-P Merger Probe Reported

April 15, 2002 ( - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked Hewlett-Packard Co. (H-P), for information about the computer group's relationship with Deutsche Bank, Dow Jones reports.

The SEC is reportedly investigating H-P’s solicitation of votes from the bank in connection with H-P’s proposed acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. According to H-P, the company received a subpoena from the US Attorney’s Office regarding the shareholder approval vote.

A SEC filing by H-P notes that the agency has “advised us that this inquiry should not be construed as an indication by the SEC or its staff that any violations of law have occurred, nor should it be considered a reflection upon any person, entity, or security.”

Soon after the proxy vote, H-P claimed it had won shareholder approval for the merger.

However, board member Walter Hewlett, who opposes the merger, filed a suit alleging that the computer company pressured Deutsche to vote its 17 million shares in favor of the merger by hinting that the firm could lose H-P’s business if it voted against the deal.

H-P denies the allegations.

According to Dow Jones, H-P, responding to questions about the subpoena, said that it believed that the inquiry was launched is in response to press accounts concerning the vote on the merger proposal.