Former HP CEO Apotheker Insists Autonomy Due Diligence “Meticulous and Thorough”
The plot thickens. Leo Apotheker, former HP (NYSE: HPQ) CEO who oversaw the August 2011 Autonomy purchase for some $11 billion, an acquisition now mired in fraud allegations, said that he was “stunned and disappointed” by charges that the enterprise management software company substantially distorted its financial performance.
Apotheker, who at the time of the Autonomy acquisition called the company’s business model “attractive,” and described the software vendor as “highly profitable and globally respected,” said, in a statement Tuesday that its financial reporting hoodwinked “a number of people over time – not just HP’s leadership team, auditors and directors.”
While characterizing HP’s due diligence in the Autonomy deal as “meticulous and thorough and included two of the world’s largest and most respected auditing firms working on behalf of HP,” he added that he would fully cooperate with HP and investigating authorities.
Here’s the full statement:
I’m both stunned and disappointed to learn of Autonomy’s alleged accounting improprieties. The developments are a shock to the many who believed in the company, myself included. But I also share the sentiment of HP’s current leadership and continue to believe in Autonomy’s market potential, as its core software expertise remains sound.
Looking back on the acquisition, which closed in Sept. 2011, the due diligence process was meticulous and thorough, and included two of the world’s largest and most respected auditing firms working on behalf of HP. Since Autonomy was a public company in the UK, much of the process relied on public financial reports — accounting statements approved, filed and backed by Autonomy’s leadership, board and auditors.
According to HP, the accounting issues it discovered pre-date its acquisition of Autonomy. As such, it’s apparent that Autonomy’s alleged accounting misrepresentations misled a number of people over time – not just HP’s leadership team, auditors and directors. In fact, the alleged improprieties apparently came to light only after an internal whistleblower raised the issue in the spring, well after my departure.
I will make myself available, however I can, to assist HP and the appropriate authorities get to the bottom of this.