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Hewlett-Packard
Debt as a % of capital: 12%
Return on capital: 19.5%

Hewlett-Packard made headlines when it announced plans to buy systems management and services provider Electronic Data Systems for about $14 billion in cash.

The acquisition is CEO Mark Hurd's bet that expanding HP's presence in the lucrative services business will help the company outflank its main rival, IBM.

Hurd has been credited with turning HP around since he took over in 2005. Indeed, the company's stock has more than doubled since he has been in charge. And in HP's latest fiscal year, profits grew 17% to $7.26 billion.

Under Hurd's leadership, HP has solidified its lead over rival computer-maker Dell. What's more, HP also outsold Sun Microsystems and IBM in the server market.

To be sure, there has been some skepticism about the EDS deal. But given Hurd's success over the past three years, Shaw Wu of American Technology Research thinks Hurd will work his magic on EDS

"It's not a slam dunk but I wouldn't discount him," he said.

NEXT: National Oilwell Varco

Last updated June 20 2008: 1:08 PM ET
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