Hewlett-Packard shareholder Walter Hewlett yesterday launched his latest offensive against the proposed merger between HP and Compaq, saying large mergers between computing companies often fail.

Hewlett's objections, titled: "Large Computing Mergers Have Consistently Failed," traces problems associated with Compaq's 1997 acquisition of Tandem Computer and its 1998 acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp (DEC). Hewlett also criticized the 1986 union between Burroughs and Sperry to form Unisys.

Hewlett said: "HP's stated rationale for the proposed acquisition of Compaq is remarkably similar to the strategic rationale put forward for each of these failed transactions. Bigger did not prove better in any of these cases, and in each transaction, integrating the two large companies was a major stumbling block to the creation of stockholder value."

Lost business Hewlett argued in his filing that large mergers between similar companies causes customers to flock toward competitors, due to uncertainty about the direction product lines will take and disorder caused by the companies' reorganization.

HP countered Hewlett's filing, charging he holds a "static view" of the technology industry in his report. The company claims that the technology landscape has changed since Compaq's acquisitions, and that large mergers often succeed.

"This is precisely the time to do a merger of this magnitude because valuations are better, customers are placing major IT purchases on hold, competitors are in a holding pattern, and it offers time to execute and integrate," the company said.