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By | Paul Kunert 20th March 2013 13:43

Brit Bill Gates writes ANOTHER open letter to HP board

Pleads for Big Reveal at AGM

Former Autonomy mobster Mike Lynch wants HP to shine a light on the accusations of book-cooking made against him and his exec team when it holds the annual shareholder meeting later today.

Good luck with that Mike, it's not the first time you've tried and been stonewalled by HP.

In fact, when The Channel asked HP about its intentions, it quickly responded that it had handed information to the "proper authorities" and would continue to "provide requested information to the relevant authorities", so presumably Lynch is out of luck.

As world + dog knows, HP claims it found evidence of accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy that it alleges were hidden by the execs before they sold the biz.

HP says this caused it to take an $8.8bn writedown in fiscal 2012 - it forked out $10.7bn for Autonomy back in August 2011 - and subsequently the Financial Reporting Council, the Department of Justice and the UK Serious Fraud Office launched a probe into the allegations.

A war of words between the parties has been waged in the press since HP dropped the bomb back in October, but as yet no lawsuit has been filed. Lynch, who maintains his innocence, set up a website late last year to defend himself in public.

The "Brit Bill Gates" reckons he is still in the dark over the specifics of HP's case, and today penned another open letter to the US tech monster urging more openness on the claims and evidence.

The letter asked: "Can the board confirm when it first become aware of these specific allegations? Will the board provide the report from PWC on which its allegations are based to the former Autonomy management team so that this issue can move toward resolution?"

The Brit also called for the findings of a committee recently appointed by HP to probe the circumstances of the deal to be made available.

He also questioned the manner in which HP had calculated the impairment charge on Autonomy and asked how much of it could be attributed to Autonomy's operating performance post-acquisition.

Lynch asked if HP had contacted the UK Takeover Panel at any stage in the negotiations in an attempt to "rescind its offer to buy Autonomy, and if so why was this not made public to shareholders".

He said that his team began alerting HP CEO Meg Whitman of Autonomy integration issues "negatively impacting its performance" in December 2011.

He wrote: "When did Ms Whitman acknowledge that Autonomy was not performing against expectations? Why was this not communicated to shareholders at the time?"

Lynch urged HP to be more transparent by not "pre-empting announcements by regulatory authorities and not waiting long periods to disclose information."

He added: "We continue to reject the allegations made against us by HP and believe it is in the interests of all parties that these questions be addressed directly by the board so this issue can be resolved as swiftly as possible.

"As we have said before, we believe the problem with the Autonomy acquisition by HP lies in the management of that business by HP under its leadership," said Lynch.

In response, an HP spokeswoman sent a statement to The Channel, stating that its position had not changed from when it first made the allegations against the Autonomy execs.

"We have handed over our information of serious misrepresentation in Autonomy's accounting to the proper authorities, namely the SEC and the Department of Justice [in the US] and in the UK the SFO [Serious Fraud Office].

"We continue to cooperate and provide requested information to the relevant authorities on an ongoing basis," said the firm. ®

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