The results of the Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) earnings report come with a very double-edged sword. If you took away all of the pressure from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) in the PC business and took away your knowledge that tablets and smartphones were continuing to plague PC sales, you would look at the valuation and say that Hewlett-Packard looks like the value stock of the century. After you looked at all of the problems after that you might change your mind.
What investors have to take away from the Hewlett-Packard news is one simpleton notion that is not quite so simple in reality. That $13.65 per share proposed buyout price of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) sounds like a bottom fishing expedition by founding CEO Michael Dell.
We previously put out a maximum buyout value per share at $15.00 after the buyout rumors resurfaced this time around. If you will recall, there had been prior stories in prior years that Michael Dell was considering a buyout. Then the latest explanation showed that dozens of meetings and discussions had taken place. One investor’s argument is that Dell is worth $24 per share.
Another consideration has to be made here. It is very possible that Michael Dell will not raise his management led buyout by one penny. We threw out a billionaire mindset scenario whereby we speculated that maybe Michael Dell doesn’t really want to acquire the company. His angle may solely be to establish a floor in the price of the stock.
Hewlett-Packard shares were up around $17.90 when we covered the earnings report. At last look we have shares up 7% at $18.30 and that is the highest price going back to September of 2012. H-P is too big in any rational case to acquire on its own due to a $33 billion market cap. It is not too large to try to unlock value here and there.
Michael Dell is paying about 8-times trailing earnings. Hewlett-Packard is currently trading at under 5-times earnings. So what if Michael Dell cannot win a buyout of his PC-maker empire? He might try many ways to unlock shareholder value. We still question whether or not Mr. Dell will really raise his offer for the company higher than the $13.65 per share price that the board agreed to. Shareholders may say also vote against the deal.
Dell shares are up at $13.85 after closing at $13.82 today and the closing bell price is only 1.25% higher than the proposed buyout price.
Is a higher buyout price coming? Maybe.
Jon C. Ogg