Would HP Spin Off Their Printer Business?

from the could-it? dept

One of the oddities of modern business is that companies often seem to feel compelled to spin off their best performing businesses on the idea that in selling it out, they can get a better return on the standalone business than when it’s saddled with other businesses that are dragging it down. That’s why AT&T spun off AT&T Wireless a few years back, despite how obvious it was that having a wireless component was going to be a necessity in the future. The whole thing makes you wonder whether or not these types of conglomerate businesses really make sense, if the best they can do is simply sell off their most important pieces. It looks like the trend isn’t going to slow down however, as rumors are spreading that HP is now going to sell of their printer business — the only profitable division they have. Of course, the other way of looking at this, since the spun off division would apparently keep the HP name, is that it’s really a ditching of all those other divisions (reinvented under the name Innovative Technologies). Of course, HP went through a similar move a few years back when they spun off their testing unit under the name Agilent, so they have some experience in tossing off side businesses.

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Comments on “Would HP Spin Off Their Printer Business?”

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Michael Kohne says:


You refer to HP’s Agilent spin off as a ‘side buisness’. While it certainly wasn’t the profit monster that printing has become, please remember that Test & Measurement was the origin of HP. Once upon a time they produced a lot of high-capability test equipment, with user interfaces that could not be beat (a touch screen and a knob – those were the days!), and truly great reliability. Agilent’s spin-off was, for me, mearly the end of a long descent into mediocrity.

Signed, a lover of good test equipment.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Quibble/clarification

Indeed. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise, and an earlier edit actually made the fact that HP originally was a test and measurement business clear — but it didn’t necessarily fit.

However, nowhere, in any of this do I think I imply that a “side business” is any less important. In fact, if you look at the post, the opposite point is made. Companies seem to be spinning off their most important businesses.

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