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Agilent: Living Up to Its Name

Executive Summary

Agilent was spun out of Hewlett-Packard in November 1999 to encourage some of its business units to shift toward higher-growth products that, as a part of a smaller company, could make a more significant contribution to earnings growth. The name evokes agility and efficiency, but over the past decade HP--in part a victim of its own success--had become somewhat complacent. To stimulate entrepreneurship, Agilent knows it has to change the culture it inherited. Moreover, its existing health-care businesses have not been performing well due to market conditions that are not expected to improve in the near term. The health care portion of the company now expects only minimal growth for the year, well below the double digit growth Agilent wants from its businesses. It therefore intends to step up development and introduction of new products, to decrease emphasis on the hospital-based market and grow its businesses in developing countries, and move into interactive health services and e-health. But that brings with it new challenges in marketing and partnering which were not its strong suit as part of HP.

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