Skip to comments.Hewlett-Packard says itís the victim of fictitious accounting at company it acquired
Posted on 11/20/2012 9:28:22 AM PST by mojito
Hewlett-Packard Co. said that a British company it bought for $9.7 billion last year lied about its finances, resulting in a massive write-down of the value of the business.
CEO Meg Whitman avoided calling it a fraud, but said Tuesday that there were serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy Corporation PLC.
HP is taking an $8.8 billion charge in its latest quarter largely to align the accounting value of Autonomy with its real value.
The revelation is another blow for HP, which is struggling to reinvent itself as PC and printer sales shrink. Its shares hit a 10-year low in morning trading.
Among other things, Autonomy makes search engines that help companies find vital information stored across computer networks. Acquiring it was part of an attempt by HP to strengthen its portfolio of high-value products and services for corporations and government agencies.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Victim, my ass! This is why HP and all big companies employ hoardes of accountants and attorneys. It’s a FAILURE to perform due diligence prior to the deal. Yes companies can lie and fudge a little but NOT this much. This is incompetence and following the Obama Rule, ones own incompetence is always to be blamed on others.
Actually, Leo started this fiasco, but blame it on the women.
Meg does own a large share of this mess; she was on the board when Leo started it and a CEO can’t do something like a $10b aquisition without board approval. Not because she is a woman.
I’ve been an engineer for nearly 40 years. During that time HP really meant something, especially for instrumentation.
When they gave up the instrumentation division, their innovation, their smarts and vision and turned the company into a printer giveaway to sell inkjet cartridges and the odd PC and laptops, I knew it could only go south from there.
I have an HP desktop....stupid me bought an HP printer to go with. The damned thing wouldn’t even talk to the computer much of the time. The wireless option was worthless. Completely worthless.
I finally trashed the printer and got an Epson 545 with AirPrint...much much better. All my Apples can print to it....seamless connection BTW.
This is a distraction, folks!
HP wanted to hide the fact that their “restructuring” is going in the wrong direction with revenue lower than last year, missing analyst expectations.
This “fraud” blows that story off the front page.
I wonder what happened here...how the heck can you come up with a valuation that is 10 times reality?
This should be interesting to see how this happened.
And I would change the board. They are useless.
“HP wanted to hide the fact that their restructuring is going in the wrong direction with revenue lower than last year, missing analyst expectations.”
I’ll bet that is the real story.
Or perhaps some sort of creative payoff with a wink and a nod from both sides because Fortune 100 companies (is HP still fortune 100) simply don’t make those types of mistakes.
If it is indeed just fraud on the part of the asset they acquired I’m sure some accounting firms have their butts on the line too.
Same here—they knew my entire model was bad, just tried to ride out the warranties. Put me off of HP forever.
“Autonomy makes search engines that help companies find vital information stored across computer networks.”
Maybe HP should have tried out some of Autonomy Corps equipment prior to purchase.
Victim, my ass! This is why HP and all big companies employ hoardes of accountants and attorneys. Its a FAILURE to perform due diligence prior to the deal. Yes companies can lie and fudge a little but NOT this much. This is incompetence and following the Obama Rule, ones own incompetence is always to be blamed on others.
Step one: how much does the company have in the bank as cash?
Step two: how much deferred revenue?
Step three: how much deferred expenses?
If you are valuing the company on two and three, beware. I’m sure the accounting firms will be held harmless.
I am a 25 yr engineer, with my last 14 in HP after they bought the company I worked for. I resolved to accept the EER package this last go-round.
Every mention of HP in the business news since then has reaffirmed my decision.
HP used to make the best scientific and medical test equipment. Somewhere along they line the thought making $99 printers and selling $50 ink cartridges was the way to go.
remember xerox? i bet they had suffered the same fate. managment incompetence.
I won't buy a HP computer but I did buy a HP 7515 wireless printer a few months ago. Works like a champ. No probs so far.
In my experience:
HP laptops have definitie vacuum issues,
HP Pavilion desktops are just about the best you can get for the money,
and the all-in-one scanner/printer is a gold-plated teh winnah that would have been a bargain for a benjamin. (At our level of printing, cartridges last a year.)
When I started at my current employer 12 years ago, it was a Compaq shop with the exception of an old HP “coffee table” server (I think it was the LH line).
I was so impressed that the thing was still in service with little in the way of maintenance, that when we bought several new servers, I went with HP on the recommendation of our software vendor. About six months later, I bought 5 more. The next few years showed that to be the worst decisions I ever made. Desktop quality product in a server box, IMHO.
That was 10 years ago, and nothing in my server room has been HP since. I have had stellar performance from both IBM and Dell equipment over the last decade>.
HP lost me as a customer, basically forever. I won’t even consider their products.
I’m in the opposite side of the house. I’ll swear by HP enterprise-class hardware. I’ve installed and maintained everything from the old Compaq white box dishwashers to the latest ProLiant-class DL and ML line servers and love everything about them: intuitive design, easy installation, great management software and tools.
IBM and Dell were a running joke in our engineering offices. Dell servers are clunky and just try too hard while IBM servers are overpriced for a product that’s more prone to problems than the price dictates. Add on top of that very awkward installation and wasteful “features” (why won’t the damn UID light turn off?!), we always went to HP for our hardware. I still would for server hardware.
Desktop stuff... well I’m a tinkerer and build my own systems from scratch (heavy ASUS/nVidia promoter), so I’ve not played with big name mfg desktops. I’ve had both Dell and HP laptops for work and have had no complaints about either. HP workstations seem to be a little bit more forgiving than Dells in my experience.
Autonomy was acquired and championed by her predecessor, Leo Apotheker.
OK, Meg can stay on.