HP's former chairman, Ray Lane, made a last-minute attempt to squash the now-infamous Autonomy acquisition just a month before the deal was sealed, documents reveal.
Public court documents circulated to the press by representatives for former Autonomy management show that on 4 September 2011, HP's then-chairman, Ray Lane, opened up to its then-chief executive Leo Apotheker about his feelings on the Autonomy deal in an email.
At the time, details of HP's plans were out in the open, but the deal had not been completed.
In an email to Apotheker, Lane said: "I am still haunted by Autonomy itself. I don't think it's the panacea we think it is. I read the analysis you provided me of their organic growth and I still see them as a roll-up. I don't think the board thought that (at least I don't remember that discussion) this was largely a roll-up when we contemplated the price.
"I would like to ask you and our advisors to analyse for the board... whether there is any way to get out of the Autonomy deal."
Apotheker tried to address Lane's concerns in his response.
"I will ask our advisors to look at your questions but want to make the following points: I disagree that Autonomy is a roll-up in the ‘classical' sense," he said. "They did a few acquisitions, less than many other sw [software] companies of similar size, and integrated them all into their platform IDOL... I am 99 per cent sure the Autonomy deal is irreversible.
"I am also convinced that Autonomy, as well as the additional steps that [we] are undertaking, will allow HP to reshape itself as a company generating eight per cent to nine per cent of its revenues from software, with a better growth and margin profile."
The documents were made public as part of the ongoing legal dispute between the two companies. HP was forced to swallow a writedown of the acquisition after it closed.
HP was not available to comment.
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