Hewlett-Packard has announced that the shareholder meeting to vote on its proposed merger with Compaq will take place in mid-March.

HP shareholders as of January 28 will be allowed to vote on the deal during a March 19 meeting held in Cupertino, California, according to HP.

The meeting will be closely watched as Hewlett and Packard family heirs have said they plan to vote against the merger. The Hewlett and Packard families and related organizations control close to 18 per cent of HP stock. A number of large institutional investors, however, said they are optimistic about the deal and plan to vote in favour of the merger.

Compaq will hold its shareholders' meeting - one day after the HP session - on March 20 in Houston.

The European Commission has approved the deal, as have Canadian regulators. The two companies, however, are still awaiting approval from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).