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WSJ: Hurd May Have Tipped off Jodie Fisher to EDS Buy

Mark Hurd may have tipped off former contractor Jodie Fisher about Hewlett-Packard's pending US$13.9 billion EDS acquisition, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Friday.

Fisher made the allegation in the same letter she sent to Hurd accusing him of sexual harassment, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. That accusation, and a subsequent investigation by HP, led to Hurd's resignation from the company.

HP disclosed the claim of sexual harassment but has never said Hurd was accused of sharing inside information about its acquisition plans with her. Fisher, who is also an actress, worked as a marketing contractor for HP prior to the accusations.

A spokesman for Hurd didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Friday. The spokesman told the Journal the allegations have no substance. "Mark is a very experienced CEO; he knows what he can and can't say" with regard to inside information, the spokesman told the Journal.

An HP spokesman said the company declined to comment. Fisher and her lawyer also declined to comment, according to the Journal.

Fisher claimed in the letter that Hurd told her about HP's plans to buy EDS at an HP event in Madrid in March 2008, a source told the Journal. HP announced its plan to buy EDS two months later.

The Journal also reported that Fisher sent a follow-up letter to Hurd, after the two had reached a settlement, in which she said her earlier complaint had contained "many inaccuracies."

HP investigated Fisher's harassment claim and concluded Hurd had not violated its policy in that regard, but it said he did fall foul of its standards of business conduct.

Soon after he left HP, Hurd was hired by Oracle as one of its co-presidents alongside Safra Catz, replacing Charles Phillips, who left Oracle to be CEO of Infor. An Oracle spokeswoman also declined to comment on the Journal report.

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