Feeds

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

Fires off attack just hours before stockholder meeting

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.