Hewlett-Packard shares are trading higher Monday morning on rumors that activist investor Carl Icahn might take a stake in the company. CNBC's David Faber is reporting that HP is not aware that Icahn owns any shares, and that the company has had no conversations with him.
But you can see why rumors of that kind were almost surely going to happen.
HP's market cap is down to $27.9 billion; the stock is down 44% year to date. The Street is expecting the company to report October 2013 revenue of $112.3 billion and profits of $3.34 a share; that gives the stock a valuation of 0.25x revenues and 4.3x projected profits.
In short, the stock looks statistically cheap; management is clearly on the defensive given the company's recent decision to blame the ill-considered Autonomy acquisition on the U.K. software company's previous management team. Whether or not Icahn is actually on the move here or not, there is no question that HP's sinking stock price is going to put the company's board and management team under increasing pressure to take drastic action of some kind or another.
HP is up 51 cents, or 3.7%, to $14.31.
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