HP admits it was conned out of $10B by Autonomy, stock crashes

HP debacle: Dude on left made massive doodoo, lady on the right gets to clean it up

This is all over the financial news today, but ZDnet explains it best in layman’s terms.

HP took a massive charge related to its purchase of Autonomy and indicated that it bought the company based pumped up and fraudulent accounting.

In its fourth quarter earnings report, HP recorded a charge of $8.8 billion in its software unit. Then HP dropped this bomb:

The majority of this impairment charge is linked to serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy Corporation plc that occurred prior to HP’s acquisition of Autonomy and the associated impact of those improprieties, failures and misrepresentations on the expected future financial performance of the Autonomy business over the long-term.

In other words, HP not only bought a clunker for $10 billion and decimated its balance sheet. HP bought Autonomy under false pretenses.

The company’s fourth quarter report was a mixed bag. HP reported a fourth quarter loss of $6.9 billion, or $3.49 a share, on revenue of $30 billion, down 7 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings, which exclude the massive Autonomy writedown were $1.16 a share.

Wall Street was expecting earnings of $1.14 a share on revenue of $30.4 billion.

For fiscal 2012, HP reported a net loss of $12.7 billion, or $6.41 a share, on revenue of $120.4 billion.

HP CEO Meg Whitman reiterated that HP is a multiyear turnaround project.

HP itself is not using the “FRAUD” word, but talking heads are using it. The tricks Autonomy used included giving it’s value-added resellers money to buy it’s products, and calling that money “marketing.”

Autonomy is a British company, and I think HP will seek legal redress in the UK as well as in SEC. This boneheaded deal from a year go, much criticized at the time for overvaluing an acquisition, was the brainchild of former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, who was forced to resign one month after the deal went thorugh. Meg Whitman will have her hands full trying to clean this mess up.

Expect HP’s stock price to take a massive, massive beating today.

In other news, France got it’s AAA rating downgraded by Moody’s.  Join the party, France.

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50 Responses to HP admits it was conned out of $10B by Autonomy, stock crashes

  1. votermom says:

  2. votermom says:

    • I remember when the Bush admin did this exact thing the spring before 9/11 happened. He sent millions of dollars to the Taliban from the war on drugs program to help with their poppy problem, then invaded months later. My guess is that Obama is going to go for the other end of the pipeline, since Bush delivered the other end and half the middle…

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Even without the fraud, the Autonomy decision was seen as stunningly stupid in the tech community on the face of it. HP’s computer division seems to be a lost cause.

    • elliesmom says:

      HP does a lot of stupid things. They acquired part of a company my husband used to work for. Two days later they sold my husband’s division off. Not even long enough for my husband to change the logo on his door, but because of HP’s pension rules at the time, all of my husband’s years at the previous company counted, and he was immediately fully vested in HP’s pension plan. When they realized what they had done, they offered to buy out the pension rights at an attractive price. It was a very nice payout – six figures, for two days work. It wasn’t just the payout that made Elliesdad very glad he’d been quickly sold.

    • votermom says:

      The amount of money in the Autonomy deal, plus the fact that none of the bankers & money men said “hey, these numbers don’t add up”, make me think there must have been hush money spread around.

  4. tommy says:

    This is big. Don’t think Whitman can turn this around easily. Its just not the fraud, or the financial impropriety, but HPs credibility thats on the line. This will have ripple effects that may doom HP. And france, yeah, they elect the socialist party that promised massive tax hikes on the ‘rich’. Now that they’re fulfilling their election pledge, its bound to doom the economy. They’ll soon go the way of Greece. Its a bit further down the road cos they are much stronger, but its inevitable. Repubs whine about class warfare, but if you really wanna see huge class warfare at play, look to France. Don’t know why but I sense a portent of doom after O was reelected. My instincts tell me that its all downhill from here on. Bad news followed by more bad news that may finally wreck the economy. Hope I’m wrong, but its like an omen or something. Ok tommy, stop rambling. Lol

    • votermom says:

      Speaking of France, you now what’s funny? After Apotheker was kicked out of HP, he got a gig on the supervisory board of a French company. 🙄

  5. votermom says:

    There were also tweets earlier that local reporters say 4 Palestinians were executed in the streets of Gaza, accused of being Israeli collaborators.

  6. votermom says:

    Really belongs in the previous thread

  7. votermom says:

    Because clearly the sex farce wasn’t wacky enough already

  8. yttik says:

    I have a hard time believing accountants and CEO’s can be this stupid. Of course, that’s a myth, they really can be incredibly stupid, as in lacking common sense and missing the fact that numbers are connected to real things. But the whole thing still makes me suspicious, like what’s the real story?

  9. votermom says:

    Coming next week -all your emails are belong to Obama

  10. tommy says:

    O/T. I know its trite, but does anyone have a simple rudimentary chicken recipe that they can share? No fancy ingredients please, and I don’t have BBQ or oven, so the recipe will have to be rudimentary, I guess. I’m desperately missing my countrys home-made food. Sorry if I sound a trite absurd, but living in a foreign country for an extended period of time does that to you. Lol

    • angienc says:

      How about stir-fried with veggies & served with rice?


      1 tablespoon peanut oil
      2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
      1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
      1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
      1 medium onion, diced
      2 cups sliced carrots
      1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
      2 cups sugar snap peas
      1 (15-ounce) can baby corn, drained
      2 cups broccoli florets
      1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
      2 teaspoons cornstarch
      1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth


      Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add chicken and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until starting to brown, stirring constantly. Add onions, carrots, and peppers and cook 1 minute. Add snap peas, corn and broccoli and cook 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and cook 2 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender.

      Dissolve cornstarch in chicken broth in a small bowl and add to wok. Simmer 2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

      I looked up this recipe because I basically do this myself without the ginger & without measuring. Also, I use whatever veggies I have on hand — you can do the same deletions/substitutions too. It’s fast & easy.


    • swanspirit says:

      Do you have a microwave? Here is a really easy Italian chicken recipe . I usually use the oven ,and use my own sauce or “adjust the one in the jar but you don’t need to do all that .This can easily be done on the stovetop or in the microwave . Take your chicken pieces , put them in a pan , pour a jar of whatever your favorite spaghetti sauce ( mine is Classico ) over it cover with a lid on the stove or wax paper in the microwave ; , and cook until the chicken is done usually about 20 – 30 minutes . You can sprinkle grated cheese over it , or slices of mozzarella . You can serve alone , with pasta , add a salad , how ever you like . Will that work for you ?

    • jjmtacoma says:

      Chicken Adobo

      Put this stuff in a crock pot or a large pot with a lid over low heat:

      1 whole coarsely chopped onion (you can just quarter the thing!)
      Add 10 (TEN) cloves of garlic
      1 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
      Couple bay leaves
      ¼ cup cider vinegar
      ½ cup soy sauce
      ½ cup water
      1 whole cut up chicken (or about 8-10 of your favorite parts)

      Arrange the chicken with big pieces on the bottom and then dump everything else over the top.

      Let it cook until the chicken is done and the meat almost falling off the bone. Serve with rice. You can take the chicken out and brown it in the oven if you want the skin to be crispy.

      2nd choice – my mom’s home-made chicken strips:

      My mom used to cut chicken breast off the bone, roll it in flour, salt and pepper.
      She would fry it in about 1/4 inch of oil covering the bottom of the pan over med-high heat on the stove.

      • angienc says:

        That reminds me of a Greek dish my mom makes called Kotopoulo Kokkinisto (Chicken in Red Sauce):


        Chicken legs and thighs (about 8 pieces altogether)
        1 medium onion chopped
        2 cloves of garlic finely minced
        3-4 tomatoes chopped (or 1 cup of tomato sauce)
        2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
        ½ glass of wine (most people use white wine but my mom uses whatever she has on hand)
        Bay leaf
        About a teaspoon of whole peppercorns

        Salt chicken to taste/dietary preference before cooking. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and place the chicken in the pot and cover with the lid. Cook the chicken for a few minutes, turning the chicken over a couple of times. Add the wine, garlic, onion, peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover with the lid and allow the chicken to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes & bay leaf to the chicken, and turn the heat to low. Allow the chicken to simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.

        Serve over rice.

      • votermom says:

        jjm, my kids like it if I add peeled boiled eggs to adobo while it’s simmering (so they get brown salty eggs).

    • ROFL! Looks live everybody is already good to go on the next chapter of poverty 101!
      Anyway Tommy- you said basic- so here goes.
      Heat oven to 350 f. Rub chicken with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes per pound.
      That’s it. You can build on this by adding herbs and so forth. You can put aromatics inside the cavity- lemon, oranges, herbs, onions- whatever you like. But the basic recipe stays the same.

      • angienc says:

        LOL! He doesn’t have an oven PMM!!

        But, if you want to convert your recipe to make Greek chicken with potatoes, drizzle chicken with oil oil then add salt & pepper.Place in middle of roasting pan surrounded by peeled, sliced potatoes (sliced like steak house fries). Pour about half an inch of chicken broth in pan (for potatoes) and LOTS of fresh squeezed lemon juice over chicken & potatoes. Cook as you instruct.

        I promise it will be best chicken you’ve ever made (and the potatoes will be addictive).

        • LOl silly me!
          Same thing can be done in a Dutch Oven on the stove top or using a crock pot.
          Love the Greek chicken- especially as your recipe calls for potatoes. If I had to pick one food and only one to live on forever it would prob be potatoes.

          • angienc says:

            Potatoes are the obvious choice, IMO.
            Mashed, baked, fried — all delicious. (Also, left over mashed makes a nice potato pancake for breakfast).

  11. HELENK says:


    backtrack sending Hillary to the ME.
    that will teach her to nap through his speech

  12. HELENK says:


    wouldn’t it be cheaper to send them to glamor shots in the malls???

  13. HELENK says:


    this article really made me stop and think, where is this country headed. how different than what it used to be

    • yttik says:

      That is a great article!

      I’m really fed up with the whole concept of victimization. Everyone is a victim these days. If you fall off your neighbors porch, you’re not a clutz, you were victimized and are now due compensation. If any of life’s unfortunate events befall you, it must be somebody’s fault.

      My grandma used to ban the word “can’t.” LOL, we could say other four letter words, but not that one! She was so worried we were becoming a nations of can’ts. I can’t because my skin is a different color, I can’t because some people in the world might hate me, I can’t because I had a tough childhood. The road to hell is paved with people who believe they can’t.

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