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HP Writes Down $8.8 Bil, Says Autonomy Cooked the Books

HP Writes Down $8.8 Bil, Says Autonomy Cooked the Books
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Details of massive corporate melodrama and a virtually unbelievable financial loss are unfolding for HP surrounding its acquisition of Autonomy. An intense internal investigation by HP, including review by PricewaterhouseCoopers of Autonomy's financial results, has led HP to believe that Autonomy was substantially overvalued.
 


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"Today's write down announcement is the latest chapter in the melodrama around HP's $11.7 billion Autonomy acquisition," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT "While the company likely hoped the deal would become a cornerstone of then-CEO Leo Apotheker's software-driven market strategy, Autonomy actually took him out of the game.

"Why? Because the deal was announced on the same day that HP delivered a far weaker than expected earnings report, killed its vaunted WebOS products and publicly discussed spinning off its PC products division."

What does HP do now? King said it's imperative for the company to contact core customers directly and apprise them of the situation. The goal, he said, is for HP to be transparent about what's going on and to address any issues or insecurities those clients might have. Just as important, he continued, the company must do everything it can to manage the narrative around these events. If it doesn't, competitors will be more than happy to step in and do it for them.

"Finally, HP needs to be clear about where it's going from here and what customers can expect from and during that journey," King told us. "To date, Meg Whitman has proven that she's capable of talking on unenviable tasks and making difficult, sometimes dreadful decisions.

"If she's smart enough, tough enough and has time enough to bring the company back from this particular brink, her tenure will be remembered fondly by HP customers and shareholders alike."

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Tom:

Posted: 2012-11-21 @ 3:45pm PT
@PK: You're exactly right. HP is a great company but it's tough to believe they could have made a mistake like this.

pk:

Posted: 2012-11-21 @ 2:39pm PT
If you are prepared to pay $11B for a company, shouldn't you be smart enough to look at their books and be able to discover these improprieties before you sign a check for such a huge amount?



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