Home > General Business, News & Feedback > HP acquisition of Autonomy and a $8.8billion write off

HP acquisition of Autonomy and a $8.8billion write off

On 20 Nov 2012 Hewlett Packard (HP) announced that it was taking a write off of $8.8 billion of the $11.1 billion that it paid to acquire Autonomy in  October 2010. At the time Automony was a member of the FTSE 100 and seen as a UK technology success story.

There has been lots in the UK financial press since then as HP’s key argument is that they overpaid for Autonomy because of accounting manipulation. This is strongly denied by Automony founder Mike Lynch.

News stories:

Breaking down a 8.8$ million write off – from Musings on Markets blog (click to expand)

Aswath Damodaran’s Musings on Markets blog makes a strong case that even if HP is right this only accounts for $2.45 billion of the $8.8 billion write off – see HP’s Deal from Hell: The mark-it-up and write-it-down two-step.

The write off raises issues about the acquisition in terms of corporate strategy, leadership, corporate governance as well as the accuracy of Autonomy’s accounts.

Resources for more information:

Thomson One Banker – a deals module search will provide details of the deal: announced 18 Aug 2011, effective 3 Oct 2011, “UK – Hewlett-Packard Vision BV of the Netherlands, a unit of by Hewlett-Packard Co (HP),  completed the tender offer to acquire the entire share capital of Autonomy Corp PLC (Autonomy), a
Cambridge-based developer of infrastructure and information management software, for GBP 25.5 (USD 42.09)” [SDC deal number 2337968040]

[Update June 2014 – Thomson ONE.com is (or T1.com) is Thomson Reuters replacement product for Thomson One Banker.]

Thomson Research – analysts reports – For example, on 23 Aug 2011 Marc Geall of Deutsche Bank published a report on Autonomy Corp plc. This reported a change of recommendation to sell, since the shares were GDP 24.86 almost fully valuing the HP offer, and substantially higher that Deutsche Bank’s fundamental target price of GBP 17.50.

Business Source Premier (EBSCO): – several trade journals with articles on the HP aquisition of Autonomy. For example,

Forbes.com (2012) ‘With Autonomy, H-P Bought An Old-Fashioned Accounting Scandal. Here’s How It Worked’ Forbes.Com, (November 20, 2012):p. 39, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 January 2013.

See also those posts with the mergers_and_aquistions tag.

  1. Mark Greenwood
    19 May 2015 at 10:47 pm

    The dispute between HP and Autonomy continues –
    BBC Business (5 May 2015) – Hewlett-Packard suit charges Autonomy with Fraud – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32600046

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