IT top brass are as divided as shareholders about Hewlett-Packard's (HP) controversial acquisition of Compaq, according to a Merrill Lynch survey released yesterday.

Merrill Lynch quizzed 100 chief information officers in the US and Europe on the merger. A total of 76 per cent of these own Compaq equipment, with half of these either for the deal or undecided.

In total, a quarter of respondents support the acquisition, while 29 per cent remain neutral. Forty-six per cent opposed merging the companies.

Less than half the survey's respondents – 43 per cent – said they own HP computers. Of those that do, 42 per cent oppose the acquisition, 32 per cent are neutral and 26 per cent support it.

A shareholder vote on the proposed merger between the two companies takes place on March 19.