Hewlett Packard blames Autonomy for $8.8bn write-off over 'misleading' firm on finances

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 06:20 hrs

American multinational computer maker Hewlett Packard has blamed UK software firm Autonomy for an 8.8 billion dollar write-off over alleged 'misrepresentations of finances' before being taken over by HP last year.

HP said Autonomy appeared to have "inflated" the value of the company prior to the takeover as part of a "wilful effort to mislead", which eventually led to a 5 billion dollar charge in its latest quarterly accounts.

The former management team of Autonomy "flatly rejected" the allegations, while three former senior members of staff, including former chief executive Mike Lynch, said they were "shocked" to see the statement, the BBC reports.

"It took 10 years to build Autonomy's industry-leading technology and it is sad to see how it has been mismanaged since its acquisition by HP," the statement from the former management team said.

According to the report, during a conference call following the announcement, HP chief executive Meg Whitman said, "We did a whole host of due diligence but when you're lied to, it's hard to find."

"[Autonomy] was smaller and less profitable that we had thought," she said, adding that HP's investigations suggested that the UK firm had misstated its revenues and growth rate.

Taking into account recent falls in HP's share value and lower-than-anticipated returns from the merger, the total one-off charge recorded in HP's accounts for the three months to the end of October was 8.8 billion dollars, pushing the company to a 6.85 billion dollar net loss, the report said. (ANI)

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