HP/COMPAQ: Number of postmerger job cuts still 15,000

Hewlett-Packard countered media reports claiming the company could lay off as many as 30,000 workers as a result of its planned merger with Compaq Computer by filing a document this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in which the company states, as it has before, that the number will be closer to 15,000.

When HP and Compaq announced their merger last month, the companies estimated job cuts of around 15,000 to be shared between the vendors over two years, after the deal closes. That number hasn't been revised since the merger was announced, according to HP.

"Several recent media stories referring to merger-related job reductions have caused consternation among Hewlett-Packard employees," the company wrote in an SEC filing Tuesday that was also published on HP's Web site. "A Bloomberg report stated that the total number of job cuts resulting from the merger may reach 30,000. This number is highly speculative."

HP blames the confusion on merger-related information it filed with the SEC on Monday and that read in part: "(HP) will continue to make decisions that may involve further reductions in staffing levels." That statement applied to cuts that would be "business as usual" for the company and that would be made before the merger closes, the company said in the SEC filing from earlier this week.

HP and Compaq make a variety of similar competing hardware products, ranging from servers to handheld devices. The similarities between the two companies have prompted industry pundits to predict a significant number of jobs will be cut when the companies merge.

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