James S. Stewart, NYT, From H.P., a Blunder That Seems to Beat All, here. Let’s put this in Fantasy Basketball terms to better understand it. This is like co-managing a team in a trade where your co-manager gives DWade for Kemba Walker and then you say the trade was fraudulent because Walker was represented as a sharp shooter. Meg Whitman’s Fantasy Basketball league must be like an HBS case study where managers like PSY and Donald Trump say “nope, the deal’s too crazy, I’m out.”
Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition last year of the British software maker Autonomy for $11.1 billion “may be worse than Time Warner,” Toni Sacconaghi, the respected technology analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told me, a view that was echoed this week by several H.P. analysts, rivals and disgruntled investors.
Cringely, Hear that? It’s HP founders Bill and Dave spinning in their graves, here.
HP, its business faltering with no mobile strategy to speak of and its stock dropping, has been looking like stupid-on-a-stick for years now. A succession of bad CEO hires (starting I believe all the way back with Lew Platt) and bad acquisitions compounded by juvenile boardroom behavior (remember the illegal phone taps?) has rightly cost the company in both reputation and market cap.
Yes, HP overpaid for Autonomy. Anyone who looked at the deal at the time could see that — anyone who wasn’t working at HP, that is. Oracle’s Larry Ellison certainly said it at the time — the price was insane. Now HP wants to call it fraud when what actually happened was probably more along the lines of what they call in the UK fast business.
Mike Lynch didn’t extract that $11.1 billion from HP at gunpoint; they asked to pay it.