The war of words over Hewlett-Packard’s $11 billion purchase of British software company Autonomy in 2011 took another nasty turn Wednesday with an open letter to HP’s shareholders from Autonomy’s former CEO, Mike Lynch.
HP has long claimed that it was misled about Autonomy’s value, causing it to grossly overpay for the company. But Lynch, who has repeatedly denied that Autonomy’s executives ever tried to fool HP, claimed in his letter that HP hasn’t been truthful with its shareholders, who are meeting with the company in Santa Clara today.
“I write to you today to raise serious concerns about the way HP has conducted this affair, and to put forward a number of questions that HP management should answer,” Lynch’s letter said. “The evidence shows that HP is not just smearing us, but also misleading you, its shareholders. I ask you to help put things right.”
“In the 16 months that have followed, HP has not provided information or evidence to the Autonomy team to substantiate any allegation,” the letter added. It then listed a series of “material questions” about HP’s claims regarding Autonomy, which Lynch said indicate that HP hasn’t been honest.
In response, HP issued the following statement:
“As HP has previously reported, it uncovered numerous accounting irregularities at Autonomy prior to its acquisition by HP. HP reported those irregularities to appropriate civil and criminal regulators in the US and UK. HP continues to cooperate in ongoing investigations by those regulators.”