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Hewlett-Packard CEO Whitman to Evaluate Sale of Small Businesses

Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman said the world’s largest personal-computer maker will evaluate selling small businesses or projects that don’t fit its plans while keeping its main operating divisions.

Whitman’s remarks came in an on-stage interview with Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, at the securities firm’s technology conference today in San Francisco. They echoed comments she made on the company’s quarterly earnings call on Feb. 21. In a regulatory filing Dec. 27, Hewlett-Packard said it would consider disposing of “assets and businesses that may no longer help us meet our objectives.”

At the Morgan Stanley conference today, Whitman said Hewlett-Packard would consider divesting “small businesses” or technology projects such as the Halo videoconferencing product that it sold to Polycom Inc. in 2011.

“But nothing at the level of our core operating divisions,” she said, referring to the big units she aims to keep.

Yesterday, Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard said it is selling the WebOS operating system and associated engineering staff to LG Electronics Inc., which plans to use the technology in Internet-connected televisions. Today, Whitman reiterated that the company is committed to its five-year turnaround plan and will return to revenue growth in fiscal 2014.

Hewlett-Packard shares rose 3.8 percent to $19.79 in at the close in New York. They have gained 39 percent so far this year.

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