The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 19, 2002, Image 5

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Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Shareholders vote on
:omputer merger
i21 billion deal coming to a close
is dug deep to
i Sha for what
beyond his yi
-Lyda Sh
■iPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — The five-month
|httver the $21 billion deal to combine Hewlett-
:kard and Compaq neared a conclusion with a
reholder vote Tuesday on what would be the
iputer industry’s biggest merger.
[The battle, shaping up as one of the closest cor-
ratt elections ever, pitted HP’s management
airtst the families of the two men who founded
cbmpany. Both sides claimed to have momen-
bui would not publicly predict victory.
In last-minute pitches for votes, HP chief Carly
Ba and dissident HP director Walter Hewlett,
^ng with Compaq CEO Michael Capellas, lob-
Tbig investors Monday who might not have
ide up their minds.
“Tliis company has a lot of investors, and every
j)f them is going to count,” said Hewlett
jkisman Todd Glass.
HP believes acquiring Compaq would give it
ore :omplete technology packages for corporate
stomers, improve the economics of its strug-
ng personal-computer division and result in
.5 hi llion in savings.
Hewlett, the son of one of HP’s late co-founders,
ys HP is overpaying for Compaq, would get
ggfed down selling low-margin PCs and services,
■an’t afford to risk the complex integration of
‘Companies’ massive organizations.
He company and Hewlett have swamped HP's
«(>0 shareholders with letters, advertisements
Helemarketers’ phone-calls. Most investors
vepnailed their proxies, but at least 1,000 share-
ilders are expected to come to an auditorium in
jpeuino to cast their votes in person Tuesday.
At the meeting, Fiorina and Hewlett will speak,
ough HP noted it did not legally have to give
Hewlett a forum. After the vote, HP or Hewlett
will claim victory or say the race is too close to
Either way, results will not be official for
weeks, until independent proxy counters verify
the balloting.
Including the Hewlett and Packard families and
foundations, about 22 percent of HP stock has
already come out against the acquisition. About 9
percent has said it is in favor.
Rarely do proxy fights turn into such cliffhang-
ers. “Usually you get a pretty good sense of how
it’s going to go one or two days out,” said Charles
Elson, director of the Center for Corporate
Governance at the University of Delaware. “The
fact that neither side is claiming victory shows
that this ranks up there as one of the closer ones.”
No such drama surrounds Compaq’s stock
holder vote Wednesday in Houston. There, the
deal is expected to be overwhelmingly approved.
In a final salvo as the vote neared, Hewlett
complained Monday that HP insulted its individ
ual shareholders when an undisclosed member of
the company’s camp told a newspaper that HP was
winning support from “elephants” — big investors
— but was “getting eaten alive by the fleas.”
Hewlett demanded an apology. HP denied the
statement was made by anyone at the company.
Compaq shares gained 3 cents Monday to close
at $10.36 on the New York Stock Exchange,
widening the gap between the stock price and
what HP would pay per share. The gain reflected
Wall Street’s increasing confidence the deal will
be rejected.
HP shares rose 20 cents to $19.25 on the
Pentagon may
reduce air patrols
over major cities
Pentagon is proposing a
reduction in the air patrols the
military has been flying over
major U.S. cities since the
Sept. 11 attacks, a spokesper
son said Monday.
New York's senators ques
tioned one version of the plan,
which had flights reduced over
New York City while round-the-
clock patrols would continue
over Washington.
The plan is to use “intermit
tent combat air patrols on an
ad hoc basis" and put fighter
jets at various military bases
on "strip alerts,” which means
on 15-minute notice for com
bat duty, said the spokesper
son, Victoria Clarke.
“It will be a very fluid mix
that we can and will adjust as
the threat conditions demand,"
Clarke said.
Neither she nor Brig. Gen.
John Rosa, the director of cur
rent operations for the Joint
Staff, would give details.
“We’ve made it a point to
never tell you or tell folks
exactly where we’re going to be
and when we’re going to be. It
only makes common sense,”
said Rosa.
The New York Times said
Monday that officials planned
to cut back on patrols over
New York City while maintain
ing 24-hour patrols over the
nation's capital.
mericans face new dangers abroad
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. embassies
nd overseas military bases are generally for-
ified against attack. But the schools where
American kids go each day often are not.
Neither are restaurants where American
ruMhess people meet clients, nor the church
4,Pakistan where an embassy worker and
Jaughter were killed.
Americans are in growing danger as ter-
orisrs search for vulnerable targets, the
■k Department said
-fonday. It warned those
Beas to be wary of — or
ven outright avoid — any
where Americans typi-
ally congregate, including
hurches, restaurants and
‘[One would have hoped
tat there would be some
JSptvi for a church, but even
tat doesn’t always exist,”
aid State Department
pokesperson Richard
loucher. “So, we all take the
est precautions we can.”
petal security is impossi-
le.l Private companies and
^povernment need to have
/orkers overseas, and those workers want
leif families nearby. If families are nearby,
ley shop, they go to school.
Some U.S. companies with operations in
t0 Middle East or south Asia have in recent
■ths relocated workers’ family members to
ther locations, like Europe, still close enough
One would have
hoped that there
would be some
respect for a church,
but even that
doesn't always
— Richard Boucher
State Department
for frequent visits, said Vince Cannistraro, a
former government counterterrorism official
who runs his own security business.
Others are cutting back on the number of
Americans overseas, relying instead on
more local workers.
Still other U.S. companies are spending
thousands of dollars to add guards and
improve the physical security at compounds
where their employees live, Cannistraro said.
The U.S. military designates
many of its bases in Middle
Eastern countries and other hot
spots as “unaccompanied,”
meaning that spouses and chil
dren cannot go along.
But that is viewed as a hard
ship, and thus rotations have to
be frequent, costing more
It can be tricky to know
when a place is unsafe.
The Americans killed in
Islamabad, Barbara Green, an
employee at the embassy, and
her 17-year-old daughter,
Kristen Wormsley, had only
recently returned to Pakistan
after the State Department
decided in January it was safe. The two,
along with many others, had left last
September in a departure authorized by U.S.
“The people at posts were looking forward
to having their families back with them,”
Boucher said. “And at that time, we operated
on the best security information we had.”
An additional 14 Americans — all private
citizens — were injured in the church attack.
Terrorists have always looked for “soft”
targets when their primary goals — military
bases and government offices — have
proved difficult to reach.
Fifteen years ago, in an attack blamed on
Libya, two U.S. soldiers were killed in a
bombing at a West Berlin disco. In 1997,
four American auditors of a U.S. oil compa
ny and their Pakistani driver were killed
while traveling in Karachi, Pakistan,
between their hotel and work.
Military bases and embassies are fortified
more than ever before with high walls, con
crete barriers, sophisticated cameras, armored
vehicles and guards with machine guns.
“If you’re going to exact some revenge
against Americans, you look for softer tar
gets. (Journalist) Daniel Pearl was a softer
They went after him. Businesses are gen
erally softer targets, so they’re at risk,”
Cannistraro said.
Schools are one of the biggest concerns,
many government and private security offi
cials say. Private schools in many cities are
often attended by the children of both offi
cial and private Americans.
After the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in
October 2000, some U.S. embassies in the
Middle East asked American employees to
keep their children home for a few days, so
security could be scrutinized. Some private
Americans did the same.
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