Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE) CEO Meg Whitman takes a hit at newly formed Dell Technologies Inc., reports Business Insider. The sharp contrast between Whitman’s and CEO Michael Dell’s management strategy comes at no surprise given a history of ‘shade throwing’ and recent big news headlines.
On Wednesday, Dell closed a buzzing $67 billion deal to acquire EMC and its portfolio companies, marking the largest technology merger in history. In contrast, HP Enterprise continues its aggressive push towards trimming down core operations, announcing today it will sell off its relatively weak software assets for $8.8 billion to a smaller British company named Autonomy. (To learn more, see: HP Enterprise Plans Asset Merger with Micro Focus.)
Perhaps in order to inspire doubt, uncertainty and fear towards one of HPE’s largest competitors, chief executive Meg Whitman is holding to light some alleged shortcomings of Dell’s business.
Fingers Point to the Balance Sheets
Whitman appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” this Wednesday, expressing freely her pessimistic outlook on Dell. “I believe we are going to win because what’s happening now is technology is moving at lightening speed, and my view is the next five years is going to belong to the nimble, the fast and the focused,” she stated.
Whitman clearly sees HPE’s recent strategy to gain strength by getting smaller as superior to Dell’s beefing up. “They are leveraging up, $60 [billion], $70 billion of debt on the balance sheet. We now have $5.5 billion of net cash on the balance sheet.” This isn’t the first time Whitman has criticized Dell’s balance sheet. In an email to HPE employees on the day Dell announced plans to acquire EMC for an estimated $50 billion, she wrote, “To pay their interest on the $50 billion of debt that the new combined company will have on their balance sheet, Dell will need to pay roughly $2.5 billion a year in interest alone. That’s $2.5 billion that they will allocate from R&D and other business critical activities.” (For more, see: Dell Nears Purchase of EMC for $67B.)
Dell vs. Whitman: 'Go Big or Spin-Off'
Despite Whitman’s resistance to Dell’s more traditional acquisition route, it’s interesting to note Whitman had considered buying EMC until the deal fell through after a lack of price agreement. Not much later, Whitman decided to split HP into HP Inc., the computer and printing company, and HP Enterprise, which has been experimenting with a ‘shared-equity spin-off model’ ever since.
Its hard to imagine a starker contrast between Michael Dell and Meg Whitman’s recent strategies to build up their companies and steal away market share from one another. Although Dell and HP have always been rivals, they’ve recently met each other head on in almost every existing computer hardware market. Time will tell whether Whitman’s shrink to success model, or Dell’s expansion strategy will prevail.