HP shares Monday were on the rise with rumors spreading on Twitter that billionaire investor and corporate raider Carl Icahn could have his eye on the beleaguered computer giant as a target.
An HP spokesperson declined to comment, citing the company's policy of refusing to comment on rumors.
HP shares were up 4 percent to $14.37 at about 11:30 Monday morning in the wake of rumors that Icahn, who has made a career of building positions in undervalued companies and then seeking dramatic changes to drive up the price of those companies, was buying shares and building a stake in HP, Palo Alto, Calif.
The billionaire investor earlier this month gave up his bid to buy truck maker Oshkosh after less than 25 percent of the shares were tendered.
HP shares plunged to their lowest level in more than a decade -- $11.71 on Nov. 20 -- after HP stunned investors by revealing that it was taking an $8.8 billion charge against earnings after discovering what the company called "serious accounting improprieties" at Autonomy. HP shares are down 44 percent this year.
"Icahn is known for buying dollar bills for 50 cents and then holding the board hostage if he doesn't get his return, so it could be an indication of a company whose stock is undervalued or it could be an indication of a history of disruptive behaviors from HP disrupting the company, its partners and its shareholders," said one HP partner, who did not want to be identified. "He goes in and buys stuff at a value. The problem is he can turn into a real pistol."
Another HP partner, who recently bought shares in the computer giant, said the rumors are more unneeded drama at HP. However, he said, "I'm glad I bought HP stock. [The rumors point] out HP is undervalued."
PUBLISHED DEC. 10, 2012