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HP launches pro-merger Web site

The company creates a site for information on its pending merger with Compaq--not long after dissident board member Walter Hewlett starts an anti-merger site.

Firing another shot in its war of words with dissident board member Walter Hewlett, Hewlett-Packard launched Tuesday a Web site for information on its pending merger with Compaq Computer--not long after Hewlett launched an anti-merger site.

These latest efforts by both camps come as HP awaits a decision from the European Commission as to whether it will approve its merger plans or conduct an intensive review of the deal. The decision is expected by Thursday. HP and Compaq are hoping to schedule a shareholder vote for March.

See special coverage: Big iron: HP to buy Compaq HP's Web site, which is separate from the company's corporate site, includes information on the benefits of the merger, a pre-written letter--which can be e-mailed to friends, associates, investors and family members--advocating the merger, and updates on the proxy filings.

In the near future, the company plans to release Webcasts, videos of its executives and board members, and personalized content.

"We're using a range of tactics, including Web sites, and intend to use this medium to the full extent to bring our message to shareholders," said Rebeca Robboy, a company spokeswoman.

The launch of HP's Web site comes four days after Walter Hewlett debuted his site. Hewlett, son of co-founder William Hewlett, includes on his site information on a financial analysis of the merger, along with press releases, statements, and background involving Hewlett, the William R. Hewlett Revocable Trust, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which plan to vote their approximate 5.6 percent stake against the deal.

A representative for Hewlett declined to comment on the HP site launch.

Hewlett, in the past, has said he opposes the merger because it would give the company a bigger slice of the low-margin PC business, while diluting the effect of its highly profitable printing and imaging business.

HP, meanwhile, has previously stated it seeks the merger to increase its presence in enterprise computing, as well as its role in the consulting business. The company aims to compete with IBM on being a one-stop shop for corporate customers.