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Talking about Report: HP mulls merging printer, PC units

Hewlett-Packard is considering a reorganization that would see the company’s printer unit combined with its personal computer business, according to a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday.

The plans, which are contingent on CEO Mark Hurd’s final approval, would put both units under the leadership of Todd Bradley, the chief of the company’s PC group, according to the report, which cited people close to the situation.

HP representatives did not immediately return requests for comment on the report.The move would be an about-face for the company, which combined the printer and PC units before in 2005 when then-CEO Carly Fiorina was looking to boost the company’s struggling PC business. The company’s printer business was so successful that some were calling for the company to spinoff the division.

However, just five months after Hurd took over the HP helm after Fiorina’s ouster by the board in 2005, he split them up again and appointed Bradley, former chief executive of PalmOne, as new leader of its personal systems group.

Last month, HP posted a 19 percent drop in profit for the third quarter of 2009, its third straight quarter of falling profit. For the quarter ended July 31, PCs accounted for $386 million in earnings, or 12 percent of HP’s profits, while the printer business generated $960 million in earnings, or 30 percent of the company’s profits.

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