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HP finds fraud at Autonomy - takes hit for $8.8 Billion
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Old 11/20/2012, 12:26 PM   #21 (permalink)
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With Autonomy, H-P Bought An Old-Fashioned Accounting Scandal. Here's How It Worked. - Forbes

Congrats, Leo. You take ID-10T to a brand new level.
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Old 11/20/2012, 12:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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Old 11/20/2012, 12:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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this topic is like a thread-merge-topia!

I'm laughing at HP as I type this on my thinkpad
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Old 11/20/2012, 01:12 PM   #24 (permalink)
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"Autonomy's financials were externally audited twice, by Deloitte and KPMG, and neither of the auditors found any irregularities."
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Old 11/20/2012, 01:26 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Blaming Leo for this is a bit daft, he wouldn't have been looking at the books himself but would be relying - as all CEOs do - that the people below him would have done their job properly - and that the auditors had done their job properly.
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Old 11/20/2012, 01:46 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Blaming Leo for this is a bit daft, he wouldn't have been looking at the books himself but would be relying - as all CEOs do - that the people below him would have done their job properly - and that the auditors had done their job properly.
Leo wasn't doing his job properly, how can you claim to know that he actually gave any thought to if anyone else was doing their job properly. Also with decisions such as the shutting down of webOS, that didn't go through all the people below him to analyze that move or what it would do to the company. So one cannot assume that Leo did his due diligence on this acquisition either.
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Old 11/20/2012, 01:57 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Maybe he is a fan of Leo.
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Old 11/20/2012, 03:01 PM   #28 (permalink)
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This is .. amazing. incredible. unbelieveable. Everyone knew it was an inflated value to pay, but with low estimates for the amount acutally directly attributable to this error ranging at $5B, and the high end being the entire almost $9B, that's just .. insane.

Minimum of $16B in money just .. gone.. that is all attributable to things Leo did.
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Old 11/20/2012, 04:29 PM   #29 (permalink)
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HP Autonomy scandal: Former CEO Apotheker “stunned” | BGR

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Apotheker lasted less than a year at HP, during which he tried without success to transform the hardware vendor into a cloud software company.

Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS | The Verge

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One source tells us that Sam Greenblatt, who served as CTO of HP's website, was instrumental in pushing Whitman and HP's board in that direction and was moved into a new role as webOS CTO alongside Martin Risau, an ally of Apotheker's who'd stuck around after the embattled CEO was fired.
webOS GBU is become a cloud company and the dream of Leo is alive. Now everything is clear.
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Old 11/20/2012, 08:02 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Don't forget Leo also made off with a GOLDEN PARACHUTE around $20 million, unreal.
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Old 11/20/2012, 08:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Man this eats the cake... i can say that HP investor will scream for some heads to roll!!!!....and I think these are just some options.

1. Some BODs will claim early retirement.
2. The 2 Large Audit firms will be sued for negligence.
3. The internal people who did due diligence will be fired
4. The EX- CEO will be sued

All this sueing will not do a thing for HP and distract them from their other problems - lowering margins, loosing hardware leadership, among other things...

The more I see, firing the previous CEO before APO was the BIGGEST mistake the board has made.. they ought to be fired!!..
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Old 11/20/2012, 10:07 PM   #32 (permalink)
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so far there is zero indication of fraud or negligence on part of Leo. HP hire auditors, Leo doesn't carry out an audit. And considering Meg Whitman agreed to the deal she's in the line of fire. Regardless, Leo is the precentral all purpose scapegoat.
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Old 11/20/2012, 10:15 PM   #33 (permalink)
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so far there is zero indication of fraud or negligence on part of Leo. HP hire auditors, Leo doesn't carry out an audit. And considering Meg Whitman agreed to the deal she's in the line of fire. Regardless, Leo is the precentral all purpose scapegoat.
Doesn't matter on how's to blame for this matter, for me all of them are guilty (from Leo to Mrs. Whitman incompetence ).
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Old 11/21/2012, 11:38 AM   #34 (permalink)
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so far there is zero indication of fraud or negligence on part of Leo. HP hire auditors, Leo doesn't carry out an audit. And considering Meg Whitman agreed to the deal she's in the line of fire. Regardless, Leo is the precentral all purpose scapegoat.
No... just stupidity. (so far)

The there were articles in the business press AT THE TIME, stating that the Autonomy deal was a risky proposition.

If the deal proved to be stunningly successful, Leo would be getting the praise reserved for the likes of Jack Welch (GE), Alan Mulally (Ford), and (of course) Steve Jobs for seeing the potential in a move and ignoring the naysayers. All of them were considered 'brutal' by those who worked for them, but were successful from a profit perspective.

So when you are at the helm and FAIL as spectacularly and truly as epically as they did, the CEO has to take the blame as well. He is the one who pulls the trigger on the deal. Blame the Palm deal on his predecessor if he wants to, but the Autonomy deal was totally his baby.

When one has a particular worldview or philosophy, one sees what one wants to see. This, by most counts was Leo's problem, his bias was that of one who believed in a services company as the only way forward.

And I didn't hear the same pass from the people who argued (and possibly correctly) that the Palm purchase was overvalued.

Sure the board shares the blame, but after the EDS debacle, isn't a little more diligence in order?
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Old 11/21/2012, 01:37 PM   #35 (permalink)
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So when you are at the helm and FAIL as spectacularly and truly as epically as they did, the CEO has to take the blame as well. He is the one who pulls the trigger on the deal. Blame the Palm deal on his predecessor if he wants to, but the Autonomy deal was totally his baby.
THIS! How do people still not get this, he pulled the trigger on this and cut the line on webOS. I don't care how anyone feels about webOS, anyone with an actual business and/or econ background knows Leo did one thing with that earnings call.

He maximized his losses, nobody can honestly defend that... looking at how hard it was to get webOS product for people that really wanted it, he could have minimized losses had he actually consulted people that know business. I have never received the pay that he has, and I can say for certain I could have done a better job of sinking HP for lower losses than he did.
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Old 11/21/2012, 02:35 PM   #36 (permalink)
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THIS! How do people still not get this, he pulled the trigger on this and cut the line on webOS. I don't care how anyone feels about webOS, anyone with an actual business and/or econ background knows Leo did one thing with that earnings call.

He maximized his losses, nobody can honestly defend that... looking at how hard it was to get webOS product for people that really wanted it, he could have minimized losses had he actually consulted people that know business. I have never received the pay that he has, and I can say for certain I could have done a better job of sinking HP for lower losses than he did.
his vision of no smartphones/tablets or PC's was insane to begin with, it honestly didnt matter how well webOS was was going to do, hed already decided and comitted (behind the backs of many esp palm) to remove HP from the tablet/smartphone and PC business.

add to that, he didnt even wind down the pc/webos divisions and announce some form of future plan, he just immediatly axed them as they were still selling and about to sell other devices to the public, thats probably the fastest way to peeve a lot of businesses and customers off in a heartbeat.

he's a moron any way you look at it, massive paycheck or not it doesnt make him smart, what he did was clearly insane, and their share prices reflected that.
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Old 11/21/2012, 04:25 PM   #37 (permalink)
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his vision of no smartphones/tablets or PC's was insane to begin with, it honestly didnt matter how well webOS was was going to do, hed already decided and comitted (behind the backs of many esp palm) to remove HP from the tablet/smartphone and PC business.

add to that, he didnt even wind down the pc/webos divisions and announce some form of future plan, he just immediatly axed them as they were still selling and about to sell other devices to the public, thats probably the fastest way to peeve a lot of businesses and customers off in a heartbeat.

he's a moron any way you look at it, massive paycheck or not it doesnt make him smart, what he did was clearly insane, and their share prices reflected that.
This says everything you need to know how business was done. Pure insanity from any angle. There's a lot more that could be said but the thing is, this is going to hurt HP for a long time, and spinning off webOS under the aegis of Gram is the smartest move made in a while.
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Old 11/21/2012, 05:51 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Doesn't matter on how's to blame for this matter, for me all of them are guilty (from Leo to Mrs. Whitman incompetence ).
Well matters to the company, the legal system, and to the government as it constitutes securities fraud. Strictly speaking about the Autonomy purchase, so far i haven't seen proof of incompetence by either. So far they've done what anyone would do: hire auditors to look at the target companies financials and then make decisions based on those. Now if we find out fraud was laid out in front of them and they bought anyways well then yeah i think you've got incompetence. But so far i haven't seen that. But maybe it comes later when the facts come out.

All that being said. HP has been making bonehead decisions for a very long time. In fact, just me personally, i think buying Palm was bonehead, simply because they didn't have the financial ability to do the job.

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No... just stupidity. (so far)

The there were articles in the business press AT THE TIME, stating that the Autonomy deal was a risky proposition.

If the deal proved to be stunningly successful, Leo would be getting the praise reserved for the likes of Jack Welch (GE), Alan Mulally (Ford), and (of course) Steve Jobs for seeing the potential in a move and ignoring the naysayers. All of them were considered 'brutal' by those who worked for them, but were successful from a profit perspective.

So when you are at the helm and FAIL as spectacularly and truly as epically as they did, the CEO has to take the blame as well. He is the one who pulls the trigger on the deal. Blame the Palm deal on his predecessor if he wants to, but the Autonomy deal was totally his baby.
Yes i remember much discussion of the deal. I'd say this. Analyst writing an article is one thing but company insiders actually look at the financials line by line, they know about any future deals, current litigation that may hamper the company, new product offerings etc so i think generally, outsider opinions that aren't based on such things are gonna always be less credible.

That being said there was much discussion that the deal was overpriced. That HP paid too much. The distinction i'd make though is tenor of the discussion i heard, at that time was not people saying "don't buy Autonomy at all." Rather it was people saying "Buy Autonomy but don't pay that crazy price for Autonomy." But i don't recall hearing anyone say, "BOD, Leo, don't buy them because they cooking their books."

But one other thing, as far as i know Autonomy is still profitable. It's simply not as profitable as they were sold making the deal a bad deal. So they didn't get value for money. But so far i don't hear HP claiming they shouldn't have bought it at all. Now that may be putting on a brave face but from what i can tell cooked books and all it's still supposed to be profitable. It's a difference between "we shouldn't have paid that much" and "we shouldn't have bought it at all." I've yet to hear the latter but i haven't paid attention to this since yesterday and honestly i don't plan to pay much more attention.

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When one has a particular worldview or philosophy, one sees what one wants to see. This, by most counts was Leo's problem, his bias was that of one who believed in a services company as the only way forward.
Well they did not go his way. They remained a computer company and so far HP has not proven that they made the correct decision because all those hardware areas continue to have horribly declining profits. They did the opposite of what leo wanted and their divisions continue to perform poorly, quarter after quarter. Now hey may be proven to be stupid, incompetent, etc. But so far, on the point that HP shouldn't be in the hardware business, he's yet to be proven wrong because they continue to do worse and worse business in those areas. Time will tell.

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And I didn't hear the same pass from the people who argued (and possibly correctly) that the Palm purchase was overvalued.

Sure the board shares the blame, but after the EDS debacle, isn't a little more diligence in order?
They are not analogous. One there is nobody claiming Palm provided fraudulent books. Also i don't see anyone blaming HP's decline that was well under way before it bought palm for it's continued decline. It lost a couple billion on Palm. I don't hear anyone blaming HP's problems on palm. Rather they blame it on the decline of pc sales, the rise of tablets, the bad economy meaning less enterprise purchases and the utter flattening of printer sales. Relative to that Palm was a pretty minor issue. But I don't think people knowledgeable about HP blame Palm. Hp only bought palm because it was already in trouble.

Now people on precentral may have been in a verbal battle with some wanted to blame Palm but that's not me. And as you say "one sees what one wants to see." There are plenty of people looking to see what they want to see: it all being palm's fault or it all being leos fault or it all being hurds, etc. In fact from me yeah, They get a pass on palm. They took a shot buying Palm it didn't work. It's not like when they bought compaq. That was a bigger blunder. Even if you look at the stock of HP, the catalyst for it's big declines have not been about Palm problem but rather huge drops in earnings for quarters and don't forget HP began one of it's many tanks, before they announced they were wrapping up palm. The stock stanked about a week earlier because they Preannounced a horrible quarter where PSG had a big decline in PC sales. Then a week or so later they had the full announcement and the statement that they were getting out of the pc business and shutting down webos. But it was selling off the pc business that continued the decline not the webos part. The problem with palm was it was going to get really expensive if they kept going, so they didn't. They took the charge and where done with it. So i think they do basically get a pass on webos and anyone truly blaming HP's issues on buying Palm is a bit off.

I don't get how all these financial services companies can miss some of this stuff though. But i'm not an auditor or anything.
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Old 11/23/2012, 08:43 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Now if we find out fraud was laid out in front of them and they bought anyways well then yeah i think you've got incompetence. But so far i haven't seen that. But maybe it comes later when the facts come out.

All that being said. HP has been making bonehead decisions for a very long time. In fact, just me personally, i think buying Palm was bonehead, simply because they didn't have the financial ability to do the job.


Yes i remember much discussion of the deal. I'd say this. Analyst writing an article is one thing but company insiders actually look at the financials line by line, they know about any future deals, current litigation that may hamper the company, new product offerings etc so i think generally, outsider opinions that aren't based on such things are gonna always be less credible.


I don't get how all these financial services companies can miss some of this stuff though. But i'm not an auditor or anything.
SB...
(Sorry to dice up your original post for the sake of brevity, but all can read the original post above)

Lets see what happens "in the coming months" when all is said and done. Most likely, no fraud will be found and by the time that is decreed, the hit will have been absorbed by the street and will not provoke the same stock dumping anguish being seen right now.

HP is doing EXACTLY what the textbook calls for in such a situation. Even if in the boardroom they KNOW that they goofed up on this deal, this is how you manage a crisis of confidence. Raise doubts about where the blame lies, this will cause a portion of their stockholders to "double down" (webOS nations is sick of THAT term too) on the stock, hoping it will rebound and they can recover their losses.

Reading the line coming from HP, they sound like some high school kid who bought his first used car from 'Shady Sam's Used Car Emporium' and didn't know how the game is played. And again, given their history of failed acquisitions, how in the world do they get any kind of a pass for grossly overpaying for Autonomy?

I agree with your comments about the analysts who can afford to pontificate when they have no skin in the game. But they were a lot more on the money in this case than the teams of accountants from the multiple companies which supposed audited the deal.

Also, I think they DID have the money to do the job with webOS, just not the stomach. I can't imagine that even half of the money they frittered away would not have helped them get some traction. One big caveat to my statement is assuming they had the smarts to get the job done. Given the track record of the once venerable HP, perhaps even $15 B would not have been enough to counterbalance poor management decisions on whatever mobile computing direction they would choose.
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Old 11/23/2012, 08:54 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Well they did not go his [Leo's] way. They remained a computer company and so far HP has not proven that they made the correct decision because all those hardware areas continue to have horribly declining profits. They did the opposite of what leo wanted and their divisions continue to perform poorly, quarter after quarter. Now hey may be proven to be stupid, incompetent, etc. But so far, on the point that HP shouldn't be in the hardware business, he's yet to be proven wrong because they continue to do worse and worse business in those areas. Time will tell.
If we carry this argument forward, all HP is proving is that they should not be in business at all. (Except maybe selling overpriced printer cartridges)

And this is from a guy who prefers most of HP's networking stuff to dealing with the arrogant company Cisco has become.

The fact that they didn't do it right doesn't support Leo's contention. Nobody is saying any of that about Apple or Samsung. Besides, they are not setting the world on fire in software and services either the last time I checked.

If you are the world's #1 PC maker and you can't leverage that into mobile tech (Tablets, phones, e-readers, nothing?) what does it say about you?

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