HP vs Autonomy - did they or didn't they?

HP says the price it paid for Autonomy was deliberately jacked up. Autonomy founder Dr Mike Lynch comes back fighting and flatly denies it. Who's right? Who knows?

by Andrew Saunders

That’s what makes it a perfect story - high stakes, high drama and larger than life characters, with enough credibility on either side to keep the conspiracy theorists happy.  

Starting with the case for the prosecution, m’lud, HP’s allegations about the way in which it reckons Autonomy bosses allocated revenues and booked sales are pretty considered. And if true, they would seem to amount to mis-representation of the value of the company. Meg Whitman is an experienced hand and, as someone not actually involved in putting the deal together, she ought to be reasonably objective too. You don’t go to the SEC and the SFO with unsubstantiated hunches. 

Neither is it any secret that pre-merger, Autonomy had a name for being a swashbuckling and aggressive operator, and that its boss and founder, Mike Lynch, was a driven and ultra-motivated individual. ‘Working at Autonomy is fun’ as he once told MT, likening it to flying a fighter jet. ‘But every now and again you are going to vomit in the cockpit.’ And now, echoing the death of drummer Eric ‘Stumpy Joe’ Childs in the cult movie Spinal Tap, someone else seems to have inhaled the vomit.  

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