CRN Exclusive: HP's Whitman On Dell, Taxes And Windows 8

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When you look at the Dell leveraged buyout, what will be the business impact on Dell?

What I can say about LBOs -- and I have watched and been involved in a number of LBOs -- is you substitute one master for another. The master that we have to some degree is the Street. We get judged every quarter. The master in an LBO is the debt market. And sometimes the debt market is a lot more unfriendly than the Street because you have got to pay off that debt. You have got to meet your debt service obligations. That can be a little tricky.

And then you have got to worry about [employee] retention. You can pay to retain the very top people. The good news is everyone at HP has a stake in HP's future. In an LBO that is not the case -- usually it is the top 20 or 30 people. I think it creates uncertainty, as these LBOs always do. I think you are just substituting one master for another, and don't underestimate the draconian nature of the debt master.

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