Earlier today Hewlett Packard stunned investors by announcing that its had effectively bungled a massive acquisition, that of Autonomy plc, despite extensive prior warnings about the accounting practices of the UK firm (for which it appears Deloitte will now have to take the blame), by paying over $10 billion for a transaction that is now clear will provide zero income statement benefit. The one problem, however, is that HP incurred a massive debt load to fund EBITDA and Cash Flow which will never materialize. The result: a capital structure that is now appropriate of a B1/B+ rated company, i.e., one whose debt needs would be serviced by a firm like Jefcadia, and therefore whose time to default in years can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The chart below explains it all: why shareholders should just get out while they can, and also explains why despite, or rather due to, endless central bank mingling, cash flows still, oddly enough, matter. Oh, and those hoping the HPQ dividend continues uninterrupted in perpetuity, hope again.