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HP chief executive admits firm could spend $1.5b on single acquisition

Hewlett-Packard is looking at making a number of acquisitions with chief executive Meg Whitman admitting that the company has its eyes on a “number of areas”.

In a TV interview with US business channel CNBC, reported by Reuters, she admitted that the technology behemoth has its gaze firmly fixed on prospective acquisitions in the $100 million [£64 million] to $300 million [£191 million] range and didn’t rule out larger deals.

"Acquisitions will become part of our future, to further some of our strategic initiatives and shore up some of the product holes. We don't need a five or six billion dollar acquisition. I think there are acquisitions in the $100 million, $300 million range, maybe some up to $1 billion to $1.5 billion that we might be interested in,” Whitman stated.

The chief executive didn’t mention any specific targets but confirmed that HP will be more careful when making their next acquisitions after the significant write-down associated with accounting problems at Autonomy, a firm it acquired in 2011.

"We will be incredibly measured and disciplined. We are very mindful of the event that we just came off with Autonomy, so don't worry about that. As we see these big tectonic plate shifts, there's no question that acquisitions are going to have to be a part of how we turn this Company around," Whitman added.

Whitman’s comments come in the wake of a disappointing set of Q3 results that saw Dave Donatelli replaced by HP chief operating officer Bill Veghte as head of HP’s Enterprise Group.

The Q3 results saw an eight per cent slide in sales to $27.2 billion [£17.4 billion] with net income actually rising to $1.4 billion [£900 million] from the $8.9 billion [£5.7 billion] loss posted last year in relation to the Autonomy write-down.