Printer boffins know mergers

Hewlett-Packard printer boffins Ross Allen and Quintin Phillips have recent merger experience they might be able to offer the rest of the company.

Hewlett-Packard printer boffins Ross Allen and Quintin Phillips have recent merger experience they might be able to offer the rest of the company.

But the US-based pair, who are in the country for a hard copy technologies roadshow, weren’t venturing any opinions on the proposed HP merger with Compaq. Allen, an inkjet specialist, says he cast his shareholder vote before arriving in Auckland after giving the issue “an extraordinary amount of consideration”.

“Ultimately I voted for what I believe is in HP’s long-term best interests.”

Phillips, whose expertise is with lasers, had even less to say on the issue, saying it had nothing to do with his being in the country.

For as long as attention has been focused on the proposed Compaq merger, the pair have been involved in a “quiet” acquistion on the printer side of the business. Last September, HP bought Israeli company Indigo, which makes commercial and industrial digital colour printing presses, in a deal worth about $US1 billion.

Allen and Phillips have each been at HP for about 20 years and make no bones about the importance of the business they’re in. Hard copy is “the jewel in the crown” of HP, says Allen, contributing “129%” of its profits, a figure he recalls from a Wall Street Journal report, and the best-known part of the HP brand.

The Indigo acquisition completes the company’s printer portfolio, Allen says.

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