The computer industry’s largest merger ever, between the storied Silicon Valley pioneer Hewlett-Packard and Houston’s twenty-year-old Compaq Computer, is turning out to look a lot like the marriage of an aging billionaire and a much younger bride with some very attractive attributes (do J. Howard Marshall and Anna Nicole Smith spring to mind?). The family heirs tried to stop the nuptials—Walter Hewlett, the son of company founder William Hewlett, fought the merger tooth and nail in a bitter proxy fight and unsuccessfully challenged it in court, and the Packard family’s foundation also opposed the union—but love, or rather lust for future profits, prevailed. The companies planned to consummate their $23 billion deal on May 7, and afterward, Compaq would take the name of its betrothed. The combined company would be called Hewlett-Packard.
Will Hewlett-Packard and Compaq live happily ever after? The union of the second- and third-largest U.S. computer companies, respectively (only IBM is bigger), certainly looks promising on