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HP merger advocate quits

The author of a key report that helped HP win its Compaq takeover battle has been forced to resign after admitting that he lied about having graduated from law school.

The author of a report that helped HP win its Compaq takeover battle has quit after admitting that he lied about having graduated from law school. Ram Kumar resigned from Institutional Shareholder Services after SmartMoney magazine reported that he had lied about graduating from the University of Southern California law school.

Kumar’s report for ISS was keenly awaited during the HP/Compaq takeover battle, which shareholders eventually approved by a slim 2.8% majority. Analysts predicted that a much higher percentage of the electorate would have been influenced by the report.

Kumar was forced to quit on September 17 after his bosses at ISS read the SmartMoney article, which described how he had dropped out of law school without graduating.

"He did not have the degree. We verified that with the university," company spokesman Pat McGurn told Reuters. "He had told us he had, during the hiring process."

"[Kumar] was given an option to resign or to be terminated, and he elected to submit a letter of resignation," McGurn added.

However, McGurn continued that the shareholders advisory group stood by the HP/Compaq report, despite the author’s resignation.

"Ram was the lead analyst, handled setting the meetings and drafted the original report, but it was an organisational decision and it was an organisational position that we still stand behind today," McGurn explains.

"There is no question in our mind that there was no taint to that report or any of the others he wrote," he said.

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