Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is the poster child for mismanagement, and one of the clearest examples of everything that is wrong with corporate America. It burned $1.2 billion on Palm in 2010, just part of $16 billion burned across four years of ill-advised buyouts. It has a revolving door in the corner office, and is now hoping against hope that Meg Whitman can right the ship. Consumers pan its quality, investors are frustrated by relatively stagnant earnings and Wall Street is wondering what the long-term plan is.
HPQ has plenty of excuses to stay conservative on its dividend, but consider this: At 48 cents a year and based on fiscal 2012 EPS forecasts of $4.02, Hewlett-Packard pays out less than 12% of its profits to shareholders. No wonder those folks owning the stock are furious. A mismanaged company with vague plans for growth is bad enough — but one that pinches pennies on dividends while wasting money on pointless mergers is even more galling.