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back to article 'Brit Bill Gates' Lynch: Only Mad Leo Apotheker understood Autonomy

The origins of Autonomy's declining fortunes can be traced back to the moment HP axed its former hapless CEO Leo Apotheker, claims Mike Lynch, the founder of the Brit software firm. This comes as Autonomy is accused of "accounting improprieties and misrepresentations ... prior to 2011 acquisition by HP" by the Palo Alto tech …

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Anyone ever heard of due diligence

If what HP is saying is true, they must have been negligent beyond belief to have not seen a doubling of Autonomys value in the books. Upping value a bit might be hidden from proper due diligence, but not doubling. Of course, the other alternative, is that HP are simply trying to hide their utter incompetence in turning a profitable and good business into a heap. Form your opinion and take your choice.

Either way doesn't say much for HP and its management though.

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Facepalm

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"....they must have been negligent beyond belief ...." OK, just for the really obtuse, can you all just take a minute and conentrate real hard - KPMG were hired by hp to do the due diligence. Deloitte were the accounting party on Autonomy's side. If anyone was negligent it was Deloitte and KPMG for not spotting the double-booking. Got that? KPMG were hired to do the job by hp, Deloitte were supposedly doing the job for Autnomy. Crud, do I have to draw you a diagram in crayon?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

Read carefully and think carefully about the phraseology they used:

"The majority of this impairment charge, more than $5 billion, is linked to serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures discovered by an internal investigation by HP and forensic review into Autonomy’s accounting practices prior to its acquisition by HP. "

This is simply not the language of a party that is giving it straight and without spin.

The natural thing to say is "is due to", not "is linked to" unless of course you can't say "is due to" because it isn't. "is linked to" says Jack Shit definitive.

An entirely reasonable explanation is they have ballsed up yet another acquisition and are trying their best to distract from a write-off that would otherwise have had "totally f***ing incompetent" written all over it.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

Remember Enron? You cannot waive your responsibility to due diligence; you can hire in other people with more experience, but it is still your responsibility to ensure that they are doing their job.

KPMG were hired to check the accounting used by Autonomy; HP's board still have to check that they did so and that they undertook the work in the appropriate manner. If KPMG simply wrote to Deloitte and asked them if it was all OK, then they are not doing their jobs. If the HP board didn't check that KPMG were actually investigating the books, then they are not doing their job.

Now the question is, are there any inconsistencies in the accounts? If there were and they weren't picked up, then either (or both) KPMG and Deloitte are at fault. If there were none, then why are the HP board now saying that there were? (And further what evidence have they shown for their statement?) If the HP board are now saying that they were aware of financial impropriety, but still went ahead with the deal, then quite simply they should be fired on the spot.

methinks they doth protest too much...

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FAIL

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

".....but it is still your responsibility to ensure that they are doing their job...." Leo's responsibility, and he's already gone. You could pin it on Shane Robinson, Leo's best bud in the company, as pointed out in the original Reg article (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/20/hp_alleges_autonomy_fraud/): "....one of the issues during the Autonomy deal was that the due diligence department reported up to the chief strategy officer at HP, which was Robison at the time, not to the chief financial officer...."

".....If the HP board are now saying that they were aware of financial impropriety, but still went ahead with the deal....." The original Reg article (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/20/hp_alleges_autonomy_fraud/) pointed out that hp were not aware of the fraud at the time of purchase, ti was revealed to them by an ex-Autonomy bod: "....HP's CEO said that a top executive within Autonomy had shown HP where to look in uncovering the true situation: which was not picked up by KPMG, hired by HP as part of its due diligence during the Autonomy deal to audit the company's books (put together by Deloitte)...."

Maybe you should go back and read the original article and those that followed. Me thinks you don't read enough.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

>>Maybe you should go back and read the original article and those that followed.<<

I have; and so far all I have seen is that the HP board claimed to have received information from an ex-employee. So far, they have still shown no hard evidence of any actual failings; nor have KPMG or Deloitte.

>>Leo's responsibility, and he's already gone.<<

Wrong, it's the whole board.

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Re: Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"I have; and so far all I have seen is that the HP board claimed to have received information from an ex-employee...." OK, probably best if you get an adult to help you with the long words then. As stated in the original articale, Meg made a pretty straightforward and definitive accusation: "....The charge relates to serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy that occurred prior to HP's acquisition of Autonomy...." If what she said was untrue then Sir Dr Lynch would be talking about suing rather than trying to claim it was all down to poor executive decisions. And if you read the follow-on articel here on The Reg (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/21/hp_autonomy_allegations/) you would have seen this statement: "HP has laid out the "accounting improprieties and misrepresentations" allegedly used by Autonomy to inflate its value just before HP bought the British biz....." So it seems you did not actually go back and read the articles, or more likely you only comprehended the bits you wanted to and twisted that into some fun little conspiracy theory.

".....Wrong, it's the whole board....." Once again, from the article: ".....Whitman said that the two people who were responsible for the Autonomy deal – former CEO Leo Apotheker and former chief strategy officer Shane Robison – were gone from the company. ...." Now, do I take the word of a CEO with years of management experience, that understands how company law works, and who knows that if she incorrectly accuses someone of fault she will be sued, or some ill-informed poster? Sorry, Meg wins!

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

>>do I take the word of a CEO with years of management experience, that understands how company law works<<

Someone desperately trying to hang onto her job.

Fixed it for you.

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Boffin

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

KPMG were hired by hp to do the due diligence. Deloitte were the accounting party on Autonomy's side. If anyone was negligent it was Deloitte and KPMG for not spotting the double-booking.

This presumes that the double-booking went on, and that it is the entire cause of HP's writedown. As of now we only have HP's word for that, and they're hardly a disinterested party.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

Now, do I take the word of a CEO with years of management experience, that understands how company law works, and who knows that if she incorrectly accuses someone of fault she will be sued, or some ill-informed poster?

False choice. Read up on the fundamentals of logic, Matt, before trying to use your brain.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

Whitman also admitted that all the current board members bar one were in place at the time of the deal, including her, and "we feel badly about it". That's not in the article, but it is in the earnings call transcript.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

Question of magnitude. Even if we assume everything HP claims is true, which their history does not support, they are *claiming* that $5 billion was "linked" to, not directly a result of, Autonomy accounting fraud. They have offered no explanation whatsoever of how they get to a massive $5 billion based on accounting errors in the millions.... Oh, and then they went ahead and threw another $3.8 billion write down in for good measure.... What is that $3.8 billion write off for? They offer no explanation

Did Lynch and company get a ridiculous price from HP? Most definitely, everyone who could multiple said it on the day they announced the acquisition. Did he commit fraud? I doubt it. Possibly some minor infractions which could likely be found in HP's books as well (HP doesn't sell to the channel on the last day of the quarter? Please), but nothing material that would cause these huge swings in valuation.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"....False choice. Read up on the fundamentals of logic...." Really? Yet you seem unable to post the reason why the logic is false? Is that becasue your logic is "hp bad, must rant"?

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Re: Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

".....which their history does not support....." Why? Bit fast to appoint blame without an explanation of why.

".....Did he commit fraud? I doubt it....." You may doubt it, but then I doubt you are a judge, an officer at the Serious Fraus Office, or from the Crown Prosecution Service. If the CPS and SFO think he has commited fraud then it will go before a judge.

".....HP doesn't sell to the channel on the last day of the quarter?...." What on Earth is that about? Oh, I see - you're some bitter channel bod, probably from a non-hp reseller. Nothing like impartiality, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"which their history does not support"

They have a history of massively of paying for acquisitions and then writing down their way out of it. Not because of fraud, but because HP's management team makes really poor decisions. Last quarter they wrote down $8 billion for their failed EDS acquisition and their failed Palm acquisition. They overpaid for 3PAR, 3COM... future write downs in those areas. You can think of others. Looking at their history, the first thing that would pop into your mind is that HP screwed up yet another M&A deal. Given that everyone said the price was outrageous for Autonomy from the outset, that is probably 90% of the case. 10% might be due to book cooking. A question of magnitude.

"You may doubt it, but then I doubt you are a judge, an officer at the Serious Fraus Office, or from the Crown Prosecution Service. If the CPS and SFO think he has commited fraud then it will go before a judge."

We'll see, kimosabe. I am sure they will find accounting errors, as you will at any corporation if you fine tooth comb their books. The question is, will they find material errors which account for a $5 billion overpayment? I doubt it. You can't get to $5 or $8.8 billion based on recognizing a few million of revenue a few days earlier than it should have been recognized or combining hardware with software licenses. If they were claiming the value was inflated by $100 million based on those claim, that would make sense. $5 or $8.8 billion, no way. 90% of this was HP overpaying. Maybe 10% is based on aggressive accounting, which may or may not have been illegal.

"What on Earth is that about? Oh, I see - you're some bitter channel bod, probably from a non-hp reseller. Nothing like impartiality, right?"

Not in the channel, but I know how the channel works. Selling to the channel at the end of the quarter is an industry common practice. Nothing illegal about it. They are selling and delivering to a customer. That customer may be a VAR. If the VAR wants to take the risk, that is fine.

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Facepalm

Re: Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"They have a history of massively of paying for acquisitions and then writing down their way out of it...." As I understand it, hp have mad $70+bn of acquisitons in the last few years, so for your argument to hold they would need to have written off at least half of that. They have not. Try again!

"....as you will at any corporation if you fine tooth comb their books....." Really? You have personally gone through the accounts of EVERY corporation and found such errors, or are you just making more wild statements?

"....I doubt it....." Which brings us back to the point that you are not a judge or working for the CPS or SFO, and very probably not an accountant by the rediculous allegations of mass accounting errors you just made, so your unfounded opinion is just that, not founded on any facts. Mind you, it does speak volumes of the business you do work for if you think all business are hiding irregularities by default....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"As I understand it, hp have mad $70+bn of acquisitons in the last few years, so for your argument to hold they would need to have written off at least half of that."

Well, lets look at the balance sheet. They have written $17 billion off on the Palm, EDS and Autonomy acquisitions over the past two quarters, so that is a pretty decent start on your $70 billion. They also have $36 billion in goodwill (payments above the book value of the acquired companies) left on their balance sheet. As the entire value of HP is $22 billion, it seems unlikely that their acquisitions have $36 billion worth of intangible goodwill value. HP is claiming more goodwill value, even with the last two write downs, than IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Apple... every other company in IT. More write downs to come.

"Really? You have personally gone through the accounts of EVERY corporation and found such errors, or are you just making more wild statements?"

A three year old wants their "you don't even know every person in the world" argument back. I am saying that in any company with thousands of transactions per quarter, you can probably find discrepancies and ts that have not been crossed. The question is, are those discrepancies material or not? That is the reason why there is the concept of materiality. Are there revenue recognitions that were less than ideal? Probably. Do those errors get you anywhere near $5 or $8.8 billion? I doubt it.

"Mind you, it does speak volumes of the business you do work for if you think all business are hiding irregularities by default...."

Again, this is not mom and pop shop. It is not a matter of hiding anything. It is a matter of thousands of unique transactions and circumstances all being processed in a short period of time. In any company of any size, you can find a few processes or transactions which were less than ideal in retrospect after the attorneys and accountants have labored over them. Generally this does not mean fraud or a material change in the financial statements. It just means that every transaction was not debated by a team of lawyers and accountants to determine the correct implementation of the GAAP/IFRS standards when it occured. These standards are often not black and white and vary greatly between US GAAP and IFRS, specifically where software revenue recognition is concerned.

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FAIL

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"......They also have $36 billion in goodwill....." And there's the evasion and weasel-words! I don't doubt you work in the channel, you definately have that bean-counter mentality. But you're just trying to fudge the numbers to back up a false statement you got called on. You stated: "....They have a history of massively of paying for acquisitions and then writing down their way out of it....." Now you're trying to wriggle out of it by claiming goodwill as well when you can't make th figure out of write-downs. Either admit your initial statement was wrong or face more ridicule. Well, OK, even if you did admit it I admit I'd still ridicule your ranting!

"....A three year old wants their "you don't even know every person in the world" argument back....." I'm sure they would, it was very effective as you were unable to counter it. So, you were unable to counter an argument you claim was of the level of a three-year-old, what does that say about you?

"....I am saying that in any company with thousands of transactions per quarter, you can probably find discrepancies and ts that have not been crossed....." Wriggle, wriggle, evade, evade. Yes, you just got cuaght out again. Trying to pretend a few minor "t's that have not been crossed" would match up to several billion is laughable! Almost on par with a three-year-old's efforts. You then try and pretend that simple accounting innaccuracies would somehow escape the attention of Deloittes and KPMG. Blimey, but your suppositions require a lot of people to not be doing their jobs! A lot more than just one simple argument - Autonomy hid their accounting fraud before the purchase.

Now go back to playing with the other three-year-olds in the channel, and you better play nice or Santa won't bring you that Barbie you want so much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"Now you're trying to wriggle out of it by claiming goodwill as well when you can't make th figure out of write-downs."

Firstly, $36 billion is hardly pedantic bean counting. That is a massive number. Amongst the largest goodwill values in the world. Secondly, as you are apparently unaware, goodwill is the category in which acquisition payments over book value (tangible assets minus liabilities) are placed. High goodwill equals substantial payments over book value. As goodwill is still at a number which has about a 1.5x value of the company as a whole, more write downs are inevitable.... I think the history is clear. They have written off $17 billion in value on acquisitions in the past two quarters. Absolutely astronomical. I cannot remember IBM or Oracle, both of which are constantly acquiring, ever having to write off anything north of a billion dollars. Oracle hasn't even needed to take a hit on Sun. Why? Because Oracle bought Sun at a very low cost relative to revenues and tangible value. The price you pay matters.

"Trying to pretend a few minor "t's that have not been crossed" would match up to several billion is laughable"

Agree, that is exactly what HP is asking you to believe.

"You then try and pretend that simple accounting innaccuracies would somehow escape the attention of Deloittes and KPMG."

Deloitte has already come out to stand by their audit. None of the practices HP mentions are necessarily fraudulent or illegal. You can book revenue when it has been shipped to the channel provide certain parameters have been met. On the hardware booked under software, Lynch seems to be clear that 1) Yes, Autonomy sells hardware with software. It was on their invoices, which were sent to HP, and booked at the correct margins. Never a secret to anyone. 2) There is nothing wrong with reselling hardware.

I don't work in the channel. I do work for a technology company that competes with HP in some areas, although I think my opinions can stand on their merits.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

>> ".....HP doesn't sell to the channel on the last day of the quarter?...." What on Earth is that about? Oh, I see - >> you're some bitter channel bod, probably from a non-hp reseller. Nothing like impartiality, right?

Oh the irony!

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FAIL

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"....Firstly, $36 billion is hardly pedantic bean counting......" Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle, wriggle, wriggle, yeah! Sorry, but I can't read all that accounting male bovine manure without LMFAO as a backing track. You made a statement, I showed it to be false, therefore your continued blathering just makes you more of an object of ridicule. You insisted they had a habit of writing off all their acquisitons' value, I said that would be closer to $70bn and all you can stretch it to is "....They have written off $17 billion in value on acquisitions...." Put your "Accountancy For Dummies" away and just admit you were wrong.

".....that is exactly what HP is asking you to believe...." No, hp are STATING that there was a deliberate and massive fraud, that is not the same as minor and accidental accounting errors. Boy, you really are desperate to think the worst of hp, did they turn you down for a job?

"......None of the practices HP mentions are necessarily fraudulent or illegal......" So firstly you state there were only minor and accidental "not crossing the T's" incidents, then you talk about practices? So now you DO admit it was more than just minor errors. Make up your mind! I can see why hp didn't hire you. And, Shirley, you would actually have to have some legal authority to be able to declare if any such practices were legal or not, and we've already ascertained you are not working for the CPS, SFO or a judge, so I suggest you wait for those legal authorities to actually do their jobs before blindly claiming legality.

"..... I do work for a technology company that competes with HP in some areas...." Ah, say no more! I didn't realise hp were in the organic fertiliser business.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"You insisted they had a habit of writing off all their acquisitons' value, I said that would be closer to $70bn and all you can stretch it to is "

Exactly, you said... based on nothing. It is, even by HP standards, not conceivable that every acquisition they have made has no value whatsoever. The question is: Do they chronically and massively overpay? Yes, they do. They have written down $17 *billion* in acquisition overpayments or otherwise lost value in the last few months. Compaq, Palm, EDS, Autonomy were all part of these write downs. Can you name another company in the IT space that has had anything comparable to these write downs? IBM and Oracle, for instance, have never had to take a multi-billion dollar write down and they are serial acquirers.

"No, hp are STATING that there was a deliberate and massive fraud, that is not the same as minor and accidental accounting errors. Boy, you really are desperate to think the worst of hp, did they turn you down for a job?"

They are stating that there is $200 million worth of miscategorized revenue or accelerated revenue. How that gets to $8.8 billion is anyone's guess? They can claim that it was deliberate, it certainly is not massive in the sense of approaching anything that would justify an $8.8 billion write down.

"I suggest you wait for those legal authorities to actually do their jobs before blindly claiming legality."

Noted. I will be sure not to provide my opinion without all the facts in evidence. I notice that you had no trouble putting all of the blame for this debacle on KPMG and Deloitte despite also having no factual information or legal standing.

"Ah, say no more! I didn't realise hp were in the organic fertiliser business."

Sadly, the fertilizer business has higher margins and better prospects than the businesses that HP is in today.

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Happy

Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"....It is, even by HP standards, not conceivable that every acquisition they have made has no value whatsoever....." Well, you ORIGINALLY stated; "They have a history of massively of paying for acquisitions and then writing down their way out of it....", which would imply you think they write off most of the value of all of their acquisitions. That would be most of $70bn, yet you can only fudge $17bn before you start doing the wriggle. I'm not an accountant, but the last time I checked "most" meant at least more than half, which would require $35bn of writedown, more than double what you fudged. Now you're trying to wriggle again by saying "not every acquisiton" - wriggle, wriggle, wriggle! Do you work out, perchance?

"....Do they chronically and massively overpay? ....." Big difference between what you originally stated - all hp acquisitons are failures leading to writedowns - compared to "hp paid over the odds to secure a deal". For example, hp paid over the odds for 3PAR to ensure it did not fall into Dell's clutches, but hp have made a roaring success of 3PAR sales. Same goes for Compaq Proliant which hp turned into the leading x64 range (and another case of beating Dell - sorry, Mike!). EVA - lots of past sales, no writedown. Lefthand and P4000 - no writedown, lots of successful sales. Looks like anything but a history of complete and consistant writedowns.

"....I notice that you had no trouble putting all of the blame for this debacle on KPMG and Deloitte despite also having no factual information or legal standing....." Nope, I merely pointed out that they were the parties legally obliged to sort through the books and find errors or fraud, and both did not. It's a matter of public record what their roles were. That's very different to making wild claims of hp trying to pass off bad management as fraud.

Consider this - Meg has a LEGAL OBLIGATION to report any potential fraud. In short, Meg goes to jail if she didn't own up. I've no doubt that the Autonomy bod that exposed the matter had that in mind as well, i.e. if he didn't show the truth to hp then he was liable to go to prison due to his previous position in Autonomy prior to the purchase. But, Meg also has to consider the risk of being sued by ex-Autonomy directors if she makes unsubstantiated claims. That makes me think there has to be something in it or Dr Sir Mike Lynch would be publicly stating his desire to sue her already. It's not like he's short of a penny or two, he can afford the lawyers and any number of trick accountants as special witnesses. Instead, Lynch has just made lots of bluster and accusations of poor management.

"....Sadly, the fertilizer business has higher margins and better prospects...." I bow to your superior experience of male bovine manure seeing as I don't work in that field.

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kb
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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

To anyone who believes the "accounting" BS I have this to say...what about Palm? EDS? If everything a company touches turns to poo poo it ain't the acquisitions, its the COMPANY. The reason HP has been all over the map the last few years if they have no clue what direction they want to go and when a CEO couldn't wave a magic wand and turn them into Apple he'd be canned and another one brought in, see AMD for another example of this stupidity.

I have NO doubt that a 2+ year investigation will turn up jack and squat, but by then the ones that would have gotten the blame for throwing away another pile of money will be out the door. At the end of the day with both HP and AMD there is only ONE place to lay the blame, and that is incompetent boards.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

Jesus, what are you, four years old? the guy made it very clear, even explained what goodwill IS which should be pretty damned obvious if you have goodwill ABOVE the actual value of the corporation itself there is a serious problem, yet you seem to act like these concrete facts are some kind of smokescreen...WTF?

For a company to pay 5.5 BILLION more than the company was worth and then try to blame that on accounting? I'm sorry, this isn't Enron, no way to cook the books THAT much without even a first year accountant catching that. Their explanation is simply beyond belief. They would have to be the most incompetent company on the planet (possible) PLUS have not one but TWO accounting firms that would be willing to risk the destruction of their firms and even serious jail time to cover up the fraud, or again they would have had to magically pick the absolute most clueless and incompetent accounting firm ON THE PLANET who just so happen to be as completely clueless as the firm hired by Autonomy.

The set of circumstances required for this to truly be a case of fraud on this scale are simply beyond the plausible, especially when you are talking about a company with a proven undeniable track record of massively overpaying for companies.

So just quit when you're behind dude, there is a difference between arguing a point on its merits and being purposely obtuse for the sake of keeping the sh*t stirring, and you sir are firmly in the latter.

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Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence

"....The set of circumstances required for this to truly be a case of fraud on this scale are simply beyond the plausible....." Well, surely the right people to decied that here in the UK are the SFO, CPS and judge and jury. Until one of those says otherwise I would suggest it is you that is only seeing what you want to be "plausible".

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Facepalm

"Lynch must be alone in talking up the leadership of Apotheker..."

Six billion quid buys a hell of a lot of arse-licking......

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Gimp

Re: "Lynch must be alone in talking up the leadership of Apotheker..."

"Six billion quid buys a hell of a lot of arse-licking......"

That's about 4600 *years* of the UK average persons *lifetime* salary.

For that kind of money quite a few might be prepared to consider tucking into a few portions of M. Apotheker's stools in a full gimp suit with a couple of dozen journalists taking photgraphs.

Just saying.

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Headmaster

Sir Dr Lynch!

Apparently Mad Mike Lynch gets rather shirty if people don't use his full title. Wonder if he'll get stripped of his OBE?

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Re: Sir Dr Lynch!

I'm not sure Sir Dr <name> is a correct title syntax. I beleive the correct syntax is to use the highest or most relevant title as a prefix to the name and all others as a suffix so:

Sir Lynch, PhD

or

Dr Lynch, KBE

I may be wrong here though, anyone with greater expertise care to weigh in?

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Angel

They've been sold to.

The issue is probably* that Apotheker was sold to. And sold to in a big way. Now this could feel like misrepresentation when they finally look at the horses teeth but actually it's just another case of caveat emptor.

*judging whilst awaiting the outcome. But hey they're bound to find something. How many large companies accounts are 100% true?

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Happy

Re: They've been sold to.

"The issue is probably* that Apotheker was sold to. "

Aren't salesmen supposed to be the easiest people to sell to?

"Done"

"You certainly have been."

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe Lynch has a point

Apotheker outlined a strategy to make HP a much bigger player in software. No one really argued with this, it was the dithering over the PC sell/float decision that caused the real trouble. With Apotheker gone, HP bottled changing the business model and scuttled back to what it knows. It now has an orphaned IM arm it doesn't know what to do with, just like it didn't know what to do with Palm.

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Anonymous Coward

"Treated Badly".

He added all sort of "roadblocks" were put in front of Autonomy's staff who were "treated badly"

This statement is beyond hilarious to anyone who has previously worked for Autonomy in the past. A quick look at the Autonomy profile on the Glassdoor website would show that Lynch and his cronies were very well known for treating staff poorly. Autonomy was a company that didn't have any kind of career structure or staff reviews in place, no official pay scale or bonus structure, were synonymous for removing experienced individuals from organisations they acquired (through a mixture of redundancies and poor treatment), only to hire graduates that they proceeded to run into the ground whilst delivering a sub-standard service on every project they tried to implement. There is a whole eco-system out there of other companies and individuals who have made a lot of money in mopping up the mistakes made by Autonomy in the past.

Not one person who worked for Autonomy will feel in the slightest bit sorry for Mike Lynch - I can assure you of that.

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"flatly refute"

is a contradiction in terms. You can flatly deny, or perhaps flatly repudiate, but refutation implies proof whilst flatly suggests none has been, or will be offered.

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Not the core problem

Several years ago, HP started the slaughter in their engineering departments and teams. They did this to save money. The innovation did not stop - it never does in technology companies, but a clear devastation hot home.And this is never immediate. You can see years leter, when most of their laptops end up being reknowned for overheating, and having poor reliability, their printing is no longer a class leader, and that in servers they make good solid stuff, but Dell will nominally match for 1/3 less cost, AND your support and how you run is old school, beurocratic, and hefty.

HP needs to seriously get back on a bleeding edge of tech, but also, it needs to get back to being very very good at its bread and butter stuff. I stopped getting HP gear outside of servers for no other reason than the gear just simply dropped below even average. Which isn't good enough for HP, and its not good enough for me. I am glad Ms Whitman turned round the direction - but thats not enough. Its got to get back to making kick ass gear - in every range, and be fanatical about doing so.

I don't mind that they want to do software and services, but if you churn out crummy printers and end uers gear, how are you impressing me that your services or software won't be the same fail.

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Anonymous Coward

HP Eng Slaughter

Several years ago, HP started the slaughter in their engineering departments and teams. They did this to save money.

Actuslly, they just carried on what Compaq had been doing to the former Dec Engineering departments as I know to my own cost.

At one point, we were expected to start time reporting on a daily basis using the samt system that Compaq used on its PC Production Lines. They wanted to know how many lines of code were delivered each day. If you didn't deliver anything to three days in a row, you gor hauled into your manager and told that your job was on the line if you didn't. One said to me, 'there are hundreds of staff in India just waiting to do your job at a fraction of the cost'.

That system didn't last very long. No one filled in the daily time reports on a daily basis. When we did (maybe once a week) they were complete works of fiction.

I got culled soon after. My whole group lasted exactly one month after HP took over.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Not the core problem

"....HP needs to seriously get back on a bleeding edge of tech..." Go read up on memristors, an hp bleeding-edge tech.

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Anonymous Coward

British Bill Gates? Bill Gates would never have sold Microsoft to some bunch of morons like HP.

That's the problem with the UK, all too willing to sell out at the first big opportunity.

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Anonymous Coward

"Bill Gates would never have sold Microsoft to some bunch of morons like HP."

Really? Do you have any idea how much Lynch personally raked in from this deal?

My recollection, which I can't back up with a reference right now, so correction is most welcome and apologies in advance if I do happen to be wrong, is that it was around 10% of the sale price.

Call it a billion dollars or thereabouts, straight into Lynch's bank account, because if I remember rightly most of it was cash up front rather than having a substantial amount conditional on ongoing success of the new subsidiary.

Nice work if you can get it.

Gizza job. I can do that.

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Black Helicopters

Bum Steers again...

Let's apply a dose of realism. HP knew full well they were paying well over the odds for Autonomy and so did the rest of the World. Either way, HP carried goodwill of around 6.8m. Goodwill represent the difference between what you pay and the real asset value of the business acquired. If it's now writing off the total, there is absolutely no way it can fully be attributed to alleged dodgy cooking of books and value. EDS was written off fully and in the case of Palm, the write-off was actually higher than the price paid to buy. HP has recently written off pretty close to $19bn, effectively shareholders money.

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Trollface

What a farce...

I thought this sort of thing only happened when British companies tried to take over American ones.

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Unhappy

Re: What a farce...

Certainly f**ked up Ferranti.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:John Smith 19 re What a farce...

That'll be Ferranti and International Signal, presumably?

See also: GEC and their massively overpriced dot-con-era acquisition of Fore and Raltec, because Arnie Weinstock hadn't bothered to invest in people and R+D for decades, and when he finally realised that his usual joint venture tactic wasn't going to turn him into a player in this market, he had to buy a player. Except the 'players' turned out to be also-rans.

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Anonymous Coward

Free Billion Pound Advice to HP....

Stop buying companies and focus on making hardware.

Send me 10% of the money that advice just saved you and I'll retire to a desert island.

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Anonymous Coward

>>> "....False choice. Read up on the fundamentals of logic...." Really? Yet you seem unable to post the reason why the logic is false? Is that becasue your logic is "hp bad, must rant"?

And of course, you're completely blameless and never fall for that trap do you Pratt? Constantly bringing a company down even when it's not justified. Oh wait - that's only if it's not HP isn't it? How much do they pay you to be a fanboi ? Must be very lonely at their fanboi meetings.....

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Happy

Re: Bitter AC

Hey, it's one of those Sunshiners in the room! Aw, did someone hurt your ickle feelings? Hey, not my fault if you couldn't see the issues before the Sunset, but hope you didn't lose too much on the shares.

/SP&L

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