Feeds

'Brit Bill Gates' was powerless to stop HP's Autonomy acquisition

Lynch suggests HP mega-bucks forced marriage

High performance access to file storage

Mike Lynch didn't fall out of love with Hewlett-Packard, it was HP which didn't know what it wanted.

So says "Brit Bill Gates" Mike Lynch, who has even suggested HP's initial advances under then chief executive Leo Apotheker were unsolicited - possibly even unwanted - and that he was powerless to stop the acquisition.

Speaking at the London Web Summit on Friday, Lynch was pushed during an on-stage "interview" on why he'd sold Autonomy in 2011 after 15 years.

According to Lynch, the premium offered by Apotheker of $42.11 a share, 64 per cent above its closing price, was impossible for the market to resist.

Lynch re-stated his belief in the vision of HP the "software company" as articulated by Apotheker, who had driven the $11bn purchase in 2011.

Lynch is, of course, putting his faith in an executive with limited experience as the CEO of a major tech firm, an exec who was dumped from two CEO positions - HP and SAP - and who'd antagonised customers of SAP with price increases.

“The vision on which Autonomy was bought by Hewlett-Packard was a superb one. Leo had a vision of where HP was going,” according to Lynch.

That vision was based on the need to manage and understand information such as emails, audio and video outside the traditional world of structured and relational data in rows and columns, he said.

The idea was to “swing the power” of HP behind Autonomy.

“You could have carried on and we were happy to do that... that was coming in the vision articulated by Shane [Robinson, HP's chief strategy and technology officer] and Leo,” Lynch said.

According to Lynch, who co-founded Autonomy in 1996, he had little control over the matter of acquisition thanks to the size of Leo's offer.

"The reality of a public company is as soon as you are a pubic company in the UK you have no control over whether you get sold... so if somebody offers a premium over the share price in the UK they will sell the company. When the premium is 60 per cent, it's sold," Lynch claimed.

Apotheker was fired by the HP board after less than a year in the role, in September 2011, and his replacement by Meg Whitman changed everything, according to Lynch. Apotheker's replacement produced a cultural change against Autonomy and the deal, Lynch claimed.

“What what you got was a change in strategy,” Lynch said. “From a divesting themselves of assets to concentrate on software to one where hardware was back at the centre - and that was a change that took place in weeks after the deal was done.”

Lynch is now embroiled in a public war with HP's board, which has accused the Autonomy management of misleading HP over the value of the company of the tune of $5bn and of engaging in “accounting improprieties and misrepresentations ... prior to the 2011 acquisition.”

HP has not publicly listed details of the alleged improprieties but it has lodged complaints with the Justice Department, SEC and Serious Fraud Office in the UK, in addition to threatening legal action independently of the action the authorities take.

As before, speaking at the conference on Friday, Lynch denied knowledge of the details and called on HP to provide information. He said that so far, he has not been contacted by HP or the authorities. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.