Meg Whitman tells HP employees: 'Dell will need to pay roughly $2.5 billion a year in interest alone'

Meg WhitmanHPHP CEO Meg Whitman

The enterprise world is all shaken up this morning over Dell’s massive $US67 billion acquisition of EMC, the largest tech-only merger deal in history.

One of Dell/EMC’s biggest competitors is the brand new Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company that will come into existence on November 1, when HP splits itself into two companies.

Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE, sent out an email to all HPE employees pointing to rally the troop, pointing out the downsides of the merger.

If you recall, Whitman was reportedly in talks with EMC CEO Joe Tucci to buy EMC last year, but walked away when the two couldn’t agree on price. It was right after that that she decided to split HP apart.

From the sound of those news reports about the HP/EMC deals, the negotiations got really far along, meaning that HP probably got a good look at EMC’s books.

So Whitman’s comments to her troops are part competitive posturing and part real knowledge.

Business Insider obtained a copy of Whitman’s email in which she pointed out that Dell was taking on an awful lot of debt to make this deal happen, writing,

“To pay back the interest on the $US50 billion of debt that the new combined company will have on their balance sheet, Dell will need to pay roughly $US2.5 billion a year in interest alone. That’s $US2.5 billion that they will allocate away from R&D and other business critical activities … “

Whitman also believes between HPE is “two years ahead of the game” with its flash storage, open networking and cloud computing products, that this merger will cause a lot of confusion in the market and is an opportunity for us to seize the moment.”

Here’s a full email:

Seize the moment

To: All Hewlett Packard Enterprise Employees

You probably saw the news earlier today, Dell announced that they would acquire EMC for $US67 billion. I wanted to take a quick moment to tell you why I (and you should too) believe this is a good thing for Hewlett Packard Enterprise and an opportunity for us to seize the moment. This is validation for the strategy that we have laid out and I am not surprised that others would try to emulate it. But, the reality is that we are two years ahead of the game and it will be difficult for others to catch up.

First, let me give a little context. To pay back the interest on the $US50 billion of debt that the new combined company will have on their balance sheet, Dell will need to pay roughly $US2.5 billion a year in interest alone. That’s $US2.5 billion that they will allocate away from R&D and other business critical activities, which will keep them from better serving their customers.

Second, integrating EMC and Dell, which combined have more than $US75 billion in revenue and nearly 200,000 employees, is no small feat. This will be a massive undertaking and an enormous distraction for employees and their management team as two very different cultures come together, leadership teams shift and an entirely new strategy is developed.

Third, bringing two portfolios together will require a significant amount of product rationalization, which will be disruptive to their business and create confusion for their customers. Customers simply will not know if the products they are buying today from either company will be supported in 18 months.

Fourth, this move is going to cause chaos in the channel as they bring together two different programs and approaches.

All of this at the very moment when we have completed our journey to create two new, focused companies. We’re organised, we have a strong balance sheet and our innovation engine is humming. So, get out in front of your customers and your partners. Tell them our story. Take advantage of this moment.

Best,

Meg

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