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Jul 31 2008   12:58PM GMT

Shareholders approve HP-EDS acquisition

rivkalittle Rivka Little Profile: rivkalittle

It looks like the odyssey leading to Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) acquisition of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) is finally over. This morning, EDS shareholders overwhelmingly approved the $13.9 billion purchase, The Dallas Morning News reported. Shareholders owning 98.8% of shares voted in favor of the deal.

The approval came after weeks of protest by shareholders, who said that HP didn’t bid high enough, and that EDS didn’t seek other bidders. Last week, EDS shareholders announced they would ask a judge to hold off today’s meeting and the scheduled vote. But behind closed doors, the shareholders and the board — and likely HP — came to an agreement. The details of the agreement have not been released. As a result, today’s meeting went off without a hitch, ending in less than 15 minutes, according to reports.

Several hundred shareholders showed up at the meeting, unlike the typical annual shareholder meetings, which are sparsely attended.

The deal has passed through the European Commission and U.S. regulators, but still has to clear a couple of non-European Union and non-U.S. jurisdictions. Those are not expected to be a problem.

It’s possible that with all the wrangling, the deal has lost some of its shine. News of the approval did nothing positive for HP’s shares. EDS shares rose two pennies to $24.82, while HP’s fell 8 cents to $44.98.

The deal is expected close after August 18.

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