Carly Fiorina， Hewlett-Packard's chief executive， came out fighting on November 14th. In a conference call with analysts， she announced better-than-expected quarterly results， even though profits were down. Ms Fiorina also reiterated why she believes her $24 billion plan to acquire Compaq is the best way forward for HP， despite objections by Hewlett and Packard family members. Last week Walter Hewlett， whose father co-founded the company， expressed concern that the merger would increase HP's exposure to the shrinking PC market and would distract managers from the more important task of navigating through the recession.
There are two ways to defend the deal. One is to point out its advantages， which is what Ms Fiorina did this week. Merging with Compaq， she said， would enable HP to reach its goals faster than it could on its own. The deal would improve HP's position in key markets such as storage and high-end computing， as well as the economics of its PC business. It would double the size of HP's sales force and broaden its customer base， providing more potential clients for its services and consulting arms. It would improve cashflow， margins and efficiency by adding “breadth and depth” to HP. “Having spent the last several months planning the integration of these two companies， we are even more convinced of the power of this combination，” Ms Fiorina concluded.
It sounds too good to be true， and it almost certainly is. But the other way to defend the deal is to point out that， even if it was a bad idea to start with， abandoning it could be even worse——a view that， unsurprisingly， Ms Fiorina chose not to advance， but is being quietly put forward by the deal's supporters.
Scrapping the merger would be extremely painful for a number of reasons. Since the executive teams of both firms have committed themselves to the deal， they would be utterly discredited if it fell apart， and would probably have to go. Under the terms of the merger agreement， HP might have to pay Compaq as much as $675m if it backed out. The two firms would be considerably weakened; they would also be rivals again， despite having shared confidential technical and marketing information with each other over the past few months. In short， it would all be horribly messy. What can be done to save the deal? Part of the problem is that HP has no plan B. “They need a brand-recovery effort immediately，” says one industry analyst. HP must give the impression that it is strong and vital， rather than desperate， and that its future is not dependent on the deal going forward. That could make the merger look more attractive and bring investors back on board.
This week's results will certainly help. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation， which owns just over one-tenth of HP's shares， will decide whether to back the merger in the next few weeks， and HP's shareholders are to vote on it early next year. The more credible HP's plan B， the less likely it is that it will be needed.
注(1)：本文选自Economist; 11/17/2001， p58， 1/2p， 1 graph;
1. What is Ms Fiorina‘s attitude toward the merging of HP and Compaq?
2. Which of the following is not the good reason to promote the merger?
[A]The majority of the firm are in favor of the merger.
[B]No combination is even worse than merger.
[C]It can bring about a lot of advantages.
[D]There is no plan B to save the firm from trouble.
3. The expression “The more credible HP's plan B， the less likely it is that it will be
needed.“(Last Line， Last Paragraph) most probably indicates _____________.
[A]plan B can win people‘s trust
[B]the merger needs people‘s trust in plan B
[C]the reliance on plan B determines the success of the merger
[D]appearing not to be dependent on the merger will make the merger go well
4. What can we learn from paragraph 4?
[A]The executive teams of both firms can benefit a lot from the merger.
[B]The future of HP depends much on the merger.
[C]The two sides are eager to make this deal.
[D]Plan B can save HP out of trouble.
5. What is the author‘s attitude toward the merger of HP?