Hewlett Packard Implodes After Disclosing Accounting Fraud At Autonomy plc Business

That Hewlett Packard would miss results (it did, with revenues coming at $30.0 billion on expectations of $30.4 billion, guiding Q1 ESP $0.68-$0.71 on expectations of $0.85) is no surprise to anyone who had followed the stock, and/or seen the recent dump of half of Seth Klarman's stake in the name (as was pointed out here previously). What was not only surprising, but shocking is that as part of its earnings announcement, HPQ took a $8.8 billion impairment charge to intangibles and earnings, primarily as a result of what it said was "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." As a reminder, HPQ bought Autonomy plc for $10.3 billion in August 2011. We now learn that anywhere between 50% and 80% of this purchase price was based on meaningless numbers and fraud. $10.3 billion is also about 40% of what HPQ's market cap will be when the stock opens down at least 10%. And this is how one destroys shareholder value. One in this case being the company's former CEO Leo Apotheker, whose executive decisions and lack of diligence have left the company in a state of complete disaster. What was Leo's punishment for his brief tenure on top of HPQ and swath of absolute value destruction? $25,000,000 in all in comp.


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