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Mike Lynch rebuffs HP’s Autonomy accusations

21 Nov 2012
Dr Mike Lynch is the founder of Autonomy

Autonomy founder and former chief executive Mike Lynch has flatly denied all the accusations levelled at the firm and its former management by its current owner HP.

On Tuesday HP sent shockwaves through the technology industry with accusations of accounting malpractice at the UK firm that led it to overvalue the firm leading to a $9bn write down.

However, Lynch, who left HP under a cloud in April, has since come out fighting, telling the Wall Street Journal that the allegations are "completely and utterly wrong and we reject them completely".

Lynch went on to question the veracity of HP's claims, arguing it would be almost impossible for so many people to have missed the alleged issues.

"The figures are just mad. You are talking about handing them an asset worth $12bn and they are saying $9bn of that they are taking off," he said.

"That would be such an obvious massive thing with 300 people and all these firms doing due diligence, how could you possibly not spot it?"

Lynch also pointed to previous acquisition failings at HP as evidence of times when the firm had, "got themselves into a mess" on other deals.

"They did the acquisition of EDS, they had to write that one down. They had to write Palm down. When Autonomy was acquired it was done by a chief executive [Leo Apotheker] who wanted to get rid of various divisions of that business and lead with software," he said.

"He was ousted in an internal coup d'etat. From that point Autonomy was at odds with the divisions that were in power."

HP has said it has contacted the Serious Fraud Office in the UK and the US Securities and Exchange Commission about its concerns, as it seeks redress on what it called "a wilful effort to mislead investors and potential buyers" by Autonomy management.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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