HP Takes $5B Charge, Attributed to Financial Malfeasance at Subsidiary Autonomy

By Tracey E. Schelmetic November 20, 2012

What happens when you acquire a company and then find later that its books have been a bit cooked?

Tech giant HP is finding out this week. Today, the company announced that it will be incurring a massive $5-billion charge and blaming it on a raft of improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures at software firm Autonomy, which it acquired last October for $11.1 billion.

It took a whistleblower to come forward to expose what HP is calling "serious accounting improprieties" and "a willful effort by Autonomy to mislead shareholders,” Reuters is reporting today.

This is one more very unneeded blow to HP, which has seen more than its share of problems as of late, including a virtual revolving door of CEOs, overall management turnover and challenges in its core personal computer and printer businesses.

For its part, Autonomy management is denying the allegations.

“The former management team of Autonomy was shocked to see this statement today, and flatly rejects these allegations, which are false," a spokesperson for former Autonomy chief executive Mike Lynch said in a brief statement to Reuters.

Lynch left HP this past May, and it was reported at the time that he was “pushed” by HP management.

Autonomy, founded in Cambridge, England, offers a variety of enterprise search and knowledge management applications using adaptive pattern recognition techniques based on something called “Bayesian inference,” together with traditional methods. Its platform attempts to make sense out of any form of unstructured information, including text, voice and video, and based on that understanding perform automatic operations.

Today, as a subsidiary of HP, Autonomy has joint headquarters in both Cambridge and San Francisco.

HP said it has referred the matter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement division and the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office for civil and criminal investigation. It said it will take legal action to recoup “what we can for our shareholders,” reported Reuters.




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

LTE Broadcast, IndyCar Racing, and Blending the Best of TV and Stadium Viewing

By: Rob Enderle    9/1/2015

This last weekend I was at the IndyCar race in Sonoma to see Verizon and Qualcomm showcase LTE Broadcast-I also wanted to see the race. I've watched N…

Read More

Windows 95 to Windows 10: How Far We Have Come in 20 Years

By: Rob Enderle    9/1/2015

Last week was the anniversary of Windows 95, which was actually a life-changing launch for me. I'd just started out as an analyst, and Windows 95 was …

Read More

Microsoft Research Project Allows for Inexpensive 3D Scanning from a Smartphone

By: Christopher Mohr    8/27/2015

It is now possible to perform 3D scanning from a smartphone, without additional hardware or an Internet connection, thanks to a new Microsoft Research…

Read More

Amazon's Scaled Back Consumer Device Efforts, Dash Button, and More

By: Paula Bernier    8/27/2015

Word is that Amazon is scaling way back on its consumer devices efforts, having let go of dozens of Lab126 engineers who worked on its Fire phone, acc…

Read More

The 4K War is Brewing, but Don't Expect a Crowned Winner

By: Special Guest    8/27/2015

The hype around 4K Ultra HD video is growing and we're seeing it gain traction in real ways. From the NFL Network and CBS using 4K cameras to capture …

Read More