Pioneering tech company to leave Silicon Valley for Texas

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise, one of the founding companies of Silicon Valley, plans to relocate its headquarters to Houston from San Jose, Calif., following years of waning technology-industry dominance that came with the rise of newer businesses focused on mobile and internet-based computing.

The company said it was already building a “state-of-the-art” new campus in Houston, the fourth-largest U.S. city. HPE also reported quarterly revenue that topped analysts’ predictions, suggesting that businesses are upgrading their data-center hardware during the coronavirus pandemic.

HPE was created in the 2015 split of one of the consummate Bay Area technology companies, Hewlett-Packard Co., which was founded in 1939 in a Palo Alto garage. The move to Texas comes amid a broader re-evaluation, motivated by pandemic-enforced work-from-anywhere arrangements, by individuals and companies who are opting to leave behind a region known for its high cost of living and difficult commute.

Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri has been working to turn around HPE, a maker of servers, storage hardware and networking gear, which had reported declining revenue in all but one quarter since separating from personal-computer maker HP Inc. Neri is reducing the company’s overhead costs, exiting unprofitable businesses and chasing the hybrid-cloud market, in which businesses store and process some of their information in corporate data centers and some with public cloud companies.

Sales in the quarter ended Oct. 31 were little changed from a year ago at $7.2 billion. Analysts, on average, estimated $6.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was 37 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter, HPE said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts had projected 34 cents.

The spread of Covid-19 and the economic slowdown it triggered had suppressed demand for networking and computer hardware and services. Now that companies have settled into remote work for many employees, they’re investing in gear to make that more efficient.

“The global pandemic has forced businesses to rethink everything from remote work and collaboration to business continuity and data insight,” Neri said in the statement. “We saw a notable rebound in our overall revenue, with particular acceleration in key growth areas of our business.”

Fiscal fourth-quarter sales increased 6% from the prior period. In the current quarter, HPE projected that profit, excluding some items, will be 40 cents to 44 cents. That compares with an average analyst prediction of 35 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company said sales will decline from the preceding period at a percentage in the mid-single digits, in line with normal seasonal patterns. A decline of 5% would indicate sales of about $6.84 billion. That compares with an average analyst estimate of $6.63 billion.

The company will keep its technology innovation hub in San Jose, at a relatively new building, CEO Neri said on a conference call with analysts. Administrative work will be centered at the new Texas headquarters. Consolidating more expensive facilities in California will lead to real estate cost savings, he said.

No staff reductions are associated with the move, HPE said in the statement. The company has locations in several cities in Texas, including Austin and Plano, and has more than 2,600 workers in Houston, according to a statement from the office of Governor Greg Abbott.

HPE shares were little changed in extended trading after closing at $11.20 in New York. They have declined 29% this year.

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