This excerpt taken from the HPQ DEF 14A filed Jan 23, 2007.
MANAGEMENT STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO STOCKHOLDER PROPOSAL
The Board recommends a vote against this proposal requesting that HP submit any future stockholder rights plan (often referred to as a "poison pill") to a vote of HP's stockholders because in 2003 the Board adopted a policy (described below) that addresses the proposal's objective. The Board believes that the existing policy addresses the proposal's objective because it gives stockholders the assurance that the Board will not adopt a future stockholder rights plan without stockholder approval except where the Board determines it to be in the best interest of stockholders.
In July 2003, the Board adopted a policy providing that HP will submit any future stockholder rights plan to a stockholder vote, subject only to the ability of the Board to adopt a stockholder rights plan on its own if, in the exercise of its fiduciary duties under Delaware law, the Board determines that adoption of a stockholder rights plan prior to stockholder approval would be in the best interests of stockholders (often called a "fiduciary out"). HP currently does not have a stockholder rights plan, as the Board terminated the previous rights plan and the preferred share purchase rights issued under the rights plan effective January 21, 2003.
The existing policy was designed to balance the concerns of stockholders with the Board's fiduciary responsibilities under Delaware law. The Board announced the adoption of its policy following stockholders' approval of a similar proposal submitted by the proponent at HP's 2003 annual meeting. The policy responds directly to stockholders' concerns by setting forth a process that the Board must follow in considering and, if applicable, implementing a stockholder rights plan.
Further, as provided by Delaware law, the Board must have the ability to adopt a stockholder rights plan in certain circumstances without the prior approval of stockholders in order to protect the interests of HP's stockholders. Delaware counsel has advised the Board that a commitment to submit all future stockholder rights plans to a stockholder vote without a fiduciary out would be impermissible under Delaware law. Such a blanket requirement that stockholders approve all rights plans under all circumstances could, in certain circumstances, prevent the directors from fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities, especially in the context of preventing certain unfair and coercive takeover attempts. Thus, the policy gives the Board the flexibility to adopt a stockholder rights plan in the future when, consistent with its fiduciary duties under Delaware law, the Board determines this action is necessary and in the best interests of the stockholders.
While the proposal requests that the Board adopt a bylaw or charter amendment, the existing policy requires the Board to follow the same process regardless of whether that process is included in a Board policy, HP's Bylaws or HP's Certificate of Incorporation. HP's Board will adopt a stockholder rights plan only if the Board first submits the plan to a stockholder vote, unless the Board determines, in the exercise of its fiduciary duties, that it is in the best interests of HP's stockholders to adopt a rights plan without delay.
The Board believes that its existing policy addresses the concerns raised by the proposal, and accordingly, the proposal is unnecessary.
For the reasons described above, the Board recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal.