Hewlett-Packard has extended the deadline for Mercury Interactive shareholders to tender their shares in favor of the companies\u2019 proposed US$4.5 billion merger.As of midnight Eastern time Thursday in the United States, when the offer had been set to expire, 67.8 million shares had been tendered in favor of the deal, HP said. The deadline is now extended to midnight on Sept. 28.An HP spokeswoman in the United Kingdom\u00a0couldn\u2019t immediately say how many shares are required to secure the deal.HP announced in July that it planned to buy Mercury in a move to strengthen its menu of IT management software and services. The combined company would be a stronger competitor to CA and IBM.HP has since been hit by a scandal over how it sought to identify the source of leaked information from its board meetings. The company has acknowledged hiring a private investigation firm that posed as suspect board members and journalists in order to access their private phone records.HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn is to step down over the scandal, and California\u2019s attorney general has said charges are likely to be filed.-James Niccolai, IDG News Service (Paris Bureau)Related Links:\n\nCalif. Says It Has Evidence to Charge HP Officials\n\nHP CEO Hurd to Take Over for Chairwoman Dunn in Jan.\n\nHP Filing Reveals Board Infighting, Leaks\n\nHP Obtained Reporters\u2019 Phone Records in ProbeCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.