HP's Fiorina Backs 4th-Qtr Outlook, Sales Growth

Hewlett-Packard Chairman Carly Fiorina delivered a terse and confident message to Wall Street on Wednesday about the computer maker meeting fourth-quarter expectations.

"We're on track for the quarter. We feel very confident about the top line growth," Fiorina said after giving a speech to Boston College's chief executives club.

"We're very comfortable with the estimates. Our European business is strong,'' Fiorina continued. "Our ink-jet supplies business is strong. Our PC business is strong. Yes, we really mean it. Yes, we'll deliver it.''

Fiorina also said Hewlett-Packard's efforts to strike a deal to acquire the consulting arm of accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers is ``four to six weeks away.'' Hewlett-Packard is negotiating to acquire the consulting unit for about $18 billion to boost its presence in the fast-growing computer services business.

After the speech, Fiorina said the themes of her speech, such as ``everyone on this earth is born with the potential to lead,'' were not necessarily directed at PricewaterhouseCoopers partners who are playing a key role in the negotiations. She said she has touched on the same themes in other speeches.

"This is not simply about the numbers and the balance sheet,'' she said. "It's critically important that partners and the non-partners inside PricewaterhouseCoopers have a good understanding of the nature of the company they may be joining.''

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