back to article Mike Lynch's British court showdown v HPE pushed back to 2019

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s civil lawsuit against former Autonomy chief exec Mike Lynch has been pushed back to next year, The Register has learned. The civil litigation was first filed in April 2015 and boiled down to HP (as it then was, pre-split) wanting to lynch Lynch for allegedly lying about the state of Autonomy’s …

  1. adam payne Silver badge

    HPE has alleged, among other things, that Lynch and his co-director and one-time CFO Sushovan Hussein “engaged in fraudulent activities while executives at Autonomy,” including “serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures, and outright misrepresentations.”

    Due diligence is your friend HP.

    His lawyer, one John Keker, lamented after his client was found guilty: “It is a shame that the United States Department of Justice lent its support to HP’s campaign to blame others for its own catastrophic failings.”

    He has kinda got you there HP.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      His lawyer, one John Keker, lamented after his client was found guilty: “It is a shame that the United States Department of Justice lent its support to HP’s campaign to blame others for its own catastrophic failings.”

      He has kinda got you there HP.

      I'd say there seems to be plenty of blame to go around. HP's catastrophic failings don't excuse misrepresentation by Hussain. Keker's complaint is irrelevant.

  2. Whitter
    Mushroom

    My essay is late. Again.

    Three years wasn't enough time to get your papers in order? That's your fault. Get on with the case.

  3. Alan Johnson

    Caveat Emptor

    The problem with HPs case is the principle of caveat emptor, the extensive due diligence performed by HP and that everyone at the time thought that Autonomy was hugely overpriced.

    How on earth was did the due diligence process fail to unearth the supposed level of over valuation. Part of this must have been a look at actual sales, actual income and actual expenditure. No one outside of HP thought the value was anything like what was paid so how did the due diligence come to the conclusion that the company was worth what was paid?

    Naturally Autonomy said they were worth more than they atually were, that is what a seller does but how can HP be successful sueing when the most major and obvious cause of their problems is massive incompetence by HP?

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      HP just doing as HP does - the rot set in when Lew Platt (extremely sharp and very pleasent) left.

    2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      "but how can HP be successful suing when the most major and obvious cause of their problems is massive incompetence by HP?"

      Because they have been made to look like the horses arses that they are on a global level, to an influential audience that are laughing their collective arses off at them - and they don't like it, because they are children only playing as grown ups. So they are going down the route of buying the justice they so desperately feel they deserve whilst crying "wah wah" as a foil for their own huge incompetence.

      That's my take on it anyway.

    3. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      "...no one outside of HP thought the value was anything like what was paid .."

      As per recent Reg articles, many within HP, including the then CFO, thought the same but they were railroaded and/or simply ignored.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Caveat Emptor

        As per recent Reg articles, many within HP, including the then CFO, thought the same but they were railroaded and/or simply ignored.

        Quite

        They must be smug and have "We told you so" attitudes.

        IIRC the CFO was fired for sticking to her guns? Can she use this case to sic some lawyery types onto HP for a bigger payday?

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Caveat Emptor

        As per recent Reg articles, many within HP, including the then CFO, thought the same but they were railroaded and/or simply ignored.

        A URL or two would be welcome there.

        Some non-techie folks take a different view. Here's one such.

        1. stephanh Silver badge

          Re: Caveat Emptor

          Lynch first tried to sell Autonomy to a little old lady, but she smelled a rat. So he had to find somebody a bit more gullible.

        2. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Caveat Emptor

          "...A URL or two would be welcome there...."

          Jeez...see that magnifying glass icon at the top right of the page? It's a search. Autonomy CFO - third story down. Not that hard, but here you go let me do the work for you:

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/19/hpe_lesjak_leo_apotheker_autonomy/

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Caveat Emptor

          Some non-techie folks take a different view. Here's one such.

          No, the blog post at that link is talking about a different CFO - Hussain. The "then CFO" in the post you quoted is Lesjak, per the Reg story that TonyJ subsequently linked.

          So: HP CFO Lesjak objected to the deal, and was forced out for her troubles. Autonomy CFO Hussain was not investigated by UK authorities (that's the thrust of the piece you linked) but has recently been convicted by US ones.

          As far as I know, Sushovan Hussain never worked for HP (though I haven't found anything online to confirm that definitively). In any case, he certainly wasn't "within HP" prior to the acquisition, so the blog post you referred to isn't relevant to the claim you were responding to.

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      "Naturally Autonomy said they were worth more than they atually were".

      While that is normal it tends to be about the future value not about cooking the books for that purpose.

      The company involved with "due diligence" also would assume the books are real.

      The EU also assumed when Greece applied for membership that the books reflected reality.

      Odd all the same.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: Caveat Emptor

        I've worked with people who were asked to visit a company and do technical audits prior to acquiring them. I would hope they also took people along to do financial audits too.

        Most businesses have to undergo audits for their accounts anyway.

      2. nichomach

        Re: Caveat Emptor

        "These are the numbers. If you don't like these, we have others..."

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can usually tell the auditor PC's

      They'll be the ones with the massive collection of cracked software on them.

  4. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    Buying pigs in pokes often lets cats out of bags.

    I can't help wondering if there was a meeting where one pointy-headed boss said to another "let's see what we've got, decide what we want to asset-strip and what we can then flog off to someone else for an overinflated price" and that's when they brought someone who actually had a clue in...

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Buying pigs in pokes often lets cats out of bags.

      Love your title.

      Here, have one then :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When shall we three meet again?

    HP, Autonomy and their book-keepers.

    Are Deloittes and KPMG expected to appear in 2019? Has their role/(lack of) culpability already been judicially determined anywhere in this picture?

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    He seems like a greedy ba***rd, HP looked stupidly eager to buy. In fact just stupid

    But being stupidly eager is not a crime.

    Deliberately, grossly inflating the value of the business transactions they think the are buying actually is a crime.

    Although you'd think the auditors should have spotted some warning signs in the accounts.

    They seemed to have been remarkably silent in this process.

    I wonder if they have a cache of emails repeatedly saying "This valuation is BS," and spelling out why it is BS in detail?

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