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HP approached LG, Samsung about sale of PC business

Hewlett-Packard approached at least two Korean electronics makers about the sale of its PC business last year, a source tell CNET.

Hewlett-Packard approached LG, Samsung and others about the sale of its PC business last year, a source told CNET.

The PC maker sounded out the Korean electronics giants late last year long before its announcement last month, according to a source familiar with the overtures by HP. Last month, HP announced its intention to "evaluate strategic alternatives" for its PC business when it released earnings.

HP ad promoting spin-off.
HP ad promoting spin-off. Hewlett-Packard

The source said HP approached Korean electronics conglomerates as part of a strategy--at that time--to try to sell the business to large companies that had much broader interests than just PCs. PCs would, in theory, complement other portions of the target companies' business, the source said.

The world's largest PC supplier is now leaning toward spinning off its PC business--not selling the business to an outside entity. "We prefer a spin-off as a separate company and the working hypotheses is that a spin-off will be in the best interests of HP's shareholders, customers and employees," an HP spokesperson told CNET last week.

HP has also been publishing newspaper ads stating that a separate PC business will create a "more agile organization to help us better anticipate change and quickly respond to customers."

The ads are an attempt to calm investor fears. "What they're doing is shoring up their position and trying to overcome the FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt] that corporate side of HP created," Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC, told CNET last week.

HP declined to comment about Samsung and LG.