Meg Whitman is ready to spend big on acquisitions again

Meg WhitmanBloomberg TV/ Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman

HP CEO Meg Whitman isn’t too concerned about the high valuations being anointed on so many startups these days.

If a company is worth buying, Meg Whitman will buy it, she told Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang.

When asked if the current M&A environment seemed expensive, Whitman said:

Certainly in the startup environment and Silicon Valley, it seems expensive to me. But I will say if you find a company that’s completely disruptive and has a chance to take big share from an incumbent, those valuations might be worth it.

M&A is a sensitive topic at HP. Prior to Whitman, the company earned a reputation for buying the wrong companies (Palm) or paying too much (Autonomy) or not doing a good job with the asset after it is acquired (LeftHand Networks).

And she was cautious about acquisitions for her first two years on the job, first working to cut costs and improve HP’s balance sheet. She started shopping lightly last year, for instance, buying bought Eucalyptus last year for terms undisclosed.

On the other hand, in 2015, true to Whitman’s word, HP has been buying.

Just two weeks ago, it closed a $US2.7 billion acquisition of Aruba Networks, its largest to date under Whitman. And HP in 2015 has already made two other buys, Voltage Security and ConteXtream (terms for both were undisclosed).

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