- The HP split -- into two different and separately traded companies -- became effective on November 1.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise will focus on data center hardware and consulting services.
- HP Inc. will focus on PCs and printers.
- HP Inc. outperformed Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the first day of trading, post split.
- The fast growth of emerging consumer technology markets such as 3D printing makes HP Inc. a very promising high tech investment.
The long-awaited split of legendary 76 years old Silicon Valley company Hewlett-Packard into two different and separately traded companies became effective on November 1, 2015. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) will focus on data center hardware and consulting services, and HP INC (NYSE:HPQ) will focus on PCs and printers.
“We’re leaving behind a company that was very large, running two businesses that were very different,” said former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, who now leads Hewlett Packard Enterprise, The New York Times reported. “We’re creating two new big companies, not bite-sized morsels, with real capabilities to change things.” Whitman noted that the company was splitting up to "more aggressively go after the opportunities created by a rapidly changing market."
The former CEO is staying with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, while HP Inc. retains the former Hewlett-Packard NYSE ticker, corporate logo, and website. The two companies will have comparable size and between $50 and $60 billion in annual revenue each.
"HP's board and management have made a brilliant value-enhancing move at the perfect time in the turnaround,” said former Hewlett Packard Chairman Ralph V. Whitworth. “The new companies will be better positioned to address today’s light-speed market dynamics and customer needs, and with distinct and compelling financial profiles and strong leadership teams, accelerate growth and shareholder value creation."
The move reflects a perception that Hewlett Packard was too big and slow moving to operate efficiently in today's fast moving technology markets. Reuters notes that the company didn't keep up with technologies and trends, such as the shift by consumers to smartphones and tablets and the shift by businesses to cloud computing.
"We approach this challenge with the heart and energy of a startup coupled with the brain, muscle and determination of a Fortune 100 corporation," notes HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler in the company's press release. "Hewlett Packard Enterprise has the vision, financial resources and flexibility to help customers win while generating growth and long-term value for our shareholders," notes Whitman in Hewlett Packard Enterprise's press release.
HP Inc. outperformed Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the first day of separate trading, Reuters reports. Shares of HP Inc. were up nearly 13 percent on Monday. Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise were down 1.6 percent. However, investors shouldn’t jump to any hasty conclusions based on the companies' first day of trading.
In fact, the question for investors is which of the two companies to bet on. For existing Hewlett Packard investors, the question has a simple answer: if they were bullish before the split, they should be even more bullish after the split, because the two companies will continue to offer the same products and services to the same customers, only with more agility resulting from the separation into two leaner companies. Therefore, both stocks should remain promising.
At the same time, it seems likely that the consumer electronics market, fueled by the development of more and more sophisticated devices and the growing consumer demand, will continue to grow faster then enterprise services, and the quality of HP products will continue to attract consumers. Therefore, it makes sense to consider HP Inc. as the "real" continuation of Hewlett Packard, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise as a spin-off with a more uncertain future in a near-saturated market with large competitors such as IBM (NYSE:IBM).
Dana Blankenhorn notes that HP Inc. has a new technology in the very promising, fast growing 3D printing market - the Multi Jet Fusion technology - and expects to ship next-generation 3D printers in 2016. "[HP] is going to rewrite the rules of 3D printing," said industry analyst Terry Wohlers.
Personal 3D printing has been compared to the beginnings of the personal computing industry in the 1980s, and 3D printing enthusiasts envision an explosive growth in the sector similar to the growth of the Internet in the 1990s. As reported in an earlier post, the 3D printing market will grow to $13.4B by 2018.
The fast growth of the 3D printing market and other emerging consumer technology markets, in which HP has a strong reputation, makes HP Inc. a very promising high tech investment.