HP’s Meg Whitman: Having Second Thoughts On PCs?

HP said that it is seeking opportunities to sell underperforming assets in spite of “risk factors” that may hamper returns, the company stated in a regulatory filing last week. This is a big change from last year, when CEO Meg Whitman consolidated the firm’s struggling PC and printer groups, stipulating that selling is out of the question.

Former chief executive Leo Apotheker proposed a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard’s $40 billion consumer business in 2011, but he was dismissed before pushing through with the idea.  ased on the wording of the recent filing, it seems that such as a move may be on the table once again.

“When we decide to sell assets or a business, we may encounter difficulty in finding buyers or alternative exit strategies on acceptable terms in a timely manner, which could delay the achievement of our strategic objectives,” reports Bloomberg.

Hewlett-Packard is refocusing on its high-margin enterprise business, hardware as well as software and services, in a revitalization effort.  The company’s bottom line has been greatly impacted by the global decline in PC demand, and is going after corporate customers to try and fill the gap.

This journey is proving to be rather difficult for HP.  The acquisition of Brit analytics firm Autonomy had cost HP billions more than it should have, and the U.S. Department of Justice has just been dragged into the controversy.

Hewlett-Packard wants the DoJ to prove that Autonomy is to blame for the $8.8 billion write off that it had to make on the deal earlier this year. Meg Whitman says that over $5 billion was spent on sorting out potentially criminal accounting misconducts by Autonomy’s former management, a statement that former CEO Mike Lynch disputed.