After months of accusation and counter accusation there is finally some move on the HP-Autonomy legal contest with a complaint being officially filed. However, the story took another twist this week as SAP claims that HP tried to off-load Autonomy on it. SAP, it seems, politely refused.
The latest allegations come courtesy of The Times of London and from no less of a source than SAP’s co-chief executive, Bill McDermott. In an interview, McDermott claims that discussions around the possible sale of Autonomy were held before HP CEO chief executive Meg Whitman arrived in London last month to talk up HP. During the visit, she also categorically denied that Autonomy was for sale.
At the time we had a long discussion with Autonomy boss Robert Youngjohns, who is also at HP, and who outlined where Autonomy would fit into HP portfolio and where possible integration points might take place. He too said Autonomy was not for sale.
That is not to say that anyone on either side is being economical with the truth, but simply to say that by the time Whitman arrived in London, the decision to hold onto Autonomy had been made either because HP couldn't get a price sufficiently high to justify a sale, or because HP had finally nailed down where it wanted Autonomy in its product line.
We were aware that it was on the market at one time, but were never seriously interested in Autonomy," McDermott told The Times.
HP, Autonomy, SAP
However, HP has been quick to deny the claims and told Business Insider that the story was, in fact, the other way around. It was SAP that went fishing, a statement said.
Contrary to reports in the media, HP has no interest is selling Autonomy. During the past year, we’ve received inquiries from SAP about purchasing HP software assets, and time and again we’ve said “no.” We believe Autonomy will play an important role in HP’s long-term strategy.”
The SAP rejection makes it the third time Autonomy has been denied. Other companies that turned it down include Oracle and Dell, which begs to ask the question why HP bought it.
Shareholders File Suit
Hopefully, the legal proceedings that took a step closer this month will clarify all that. HP is facing number of law suits over the US$11 billion acquisition with the one of a number of likely legal proceedings filed in court in San Francisco earlier this month.
Filed on May 3 in U.S. District Court, the filing against HP by some of its shareholders accuses current and former HP executives of failing to carry out the necessary due diligence before the deal was agreed. The result is that HP was tied into the acquisition of Autonomy, described in the filing as "a polluted and vastly overvalued asset."
Listed among the defendants are current CEO Meg Whitman, former CEO Leo Apotheker, former board Chairman Ray Lane and Mike Lynch, Autonomy’s CEO and founder. Lynch vigorously denies any wrong doing around the accountancy practices at Autonomy.
There is no date for the hearing yet, but there is bound to be more on this before either parties see the inside of a courtroom.