Feeds

Ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch goes nuclear: Claims HP 'misleads' its own shareholders

Fires off attack just hours before stockholder meeting

Application security programs and practises

Mike Lynch, former chief of HP-owned Autonomy, tossed an explosive shareholder letter onto the internet today – just hours before HP's annual investors' meeting in Santa Clara, California.

The scathing missive alleges Hewlett-Packard has been "misleading" its shareholders about the reasons behind the computer giant's $8.8bn write down of its acquisition of Autonomy.

HP, with Léo Apotheker at the helm, gobbled up British software biz Autonomy for a whopping $11.1bn in 2011.

But in November 2012, the US goliath – under Apotheker's successor, Meg Whitman – wrote down the value of the Brit company by an eye-watering $8.8bn after an unnamed whistleblower came forward in May 2012. Having looked over the informant's claims, HP publicly alleged that Autonomy was rife with "accounting improprieties, disclosure failures, and outright misrepresentations."

Since then relations between the enterprise software giant and Mike Lynch, who left Autonomy in May 2012, have been rather fraught: HP insisted it knew nothing of the alleged problems at Autonomy prior to the acquisition; HP shareholders tossed a lawsuit at HP claiming it did; the UK's Serious Fraud Office hurled a probe into Autonomy in May 2013; and Mike Lynch ever so often pops up to stir the hornet's nest and defend his reputation.

This latest salvo from Lynch, once dubbed the British Bill Gates by the Sunday Times, follows a leak to the Financial Times in February this year that claimed HP "knew" about the somewhat idiosyncratic way in which Autonomy booked hardware and reseller sales prior to the acquisition.

Now, Lynch has written a letter asking a variety of questions of HP to coincide with the company's annual shareholder meeting in Santa Clara, California.

"HP has not provided information or evidence to the Autonomy team to substantiate any allegation," he fumed.

"Instead, it has selectively leaked documents and information to the international media, frequently using material taken out of context to create false impressions and smear our reputations.

"Since the last HP shareholder meeting, reports in the media have demonstrated that HP has documents in its possession that show beyond doubt that statements it made on November 20 [2012] were misleading. Further, these reports have shown that senior people at HP knew these statements were misleading long before they were made."

Lynch's letter lists a set of questions HP "needs to answer", such as why is has so far declined to show Autonomy's management team the allegations against them, how Autonomy's auditors "missed" certain items, how much HP knew prior to the whistleblower stepping forward, why HP will not release its calculation for the write down, and others.

In response, HP told The Register in a not terribly well worded statement:

As HP has previously reported, it uncovered numerous accounting irregularities at Autonomy prior to its acquisition by HP. HP reported those irregularities to appropriate civil and criminal regulators in the US and UK.

"HP continues to cooperate in ongoing investigations by those regulators," the biz added. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.