The French Web site Capital is reporting advanced talks between Hewlett-Packard and Bull, saying that HP may offer US$992 million to buy one of France's last big IT companies. That would be a premium of about 40 percent over Bull's average share price in July.
Contacted by IDG's Le Monde Informatique, the companies made like tourists at a customs office: Nothing to declare. In other words, no comment.
The French government, through its stake in France Telecom, holds no more than around 10 percent of Bull, with more than 78 percent of it on the open market. Bull's business today rests largely on two pillars: servers, and integration software, based largely on open source.
The original report, in French, appears here. It does not cite any sources, but says HP is being advised by Morgan Stanley and plans to announce its offer at the start of August.