Oracle kicked up its war of words with HP and Autonomy to a new level last night when it published the slide decks Autonomy presented to Oracle when it was selling itself. Back in August HP paid $10.2 billion for the UK enterprise software company. A month later Larry Ellison said on a conference call, “Autonomy was shopped to us … We looked at the price and thought it was absurdly high.”
In an interview with the Journal, Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch replied to Ellison by saying his statements were “inaccurate,” and “If some bank happened to come with us on a list, that is nothing to do with us.”
Oracle says it wasn’t just “some bank” that was shopping Autonomy, and it says it has the slides to prove it.
In a press release titled, “Another Whopper from Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch,” Oracle says Lynch was selling the company when he visited Mark Hurd and M&A head Doug Kehring in April.
Here’s Oracle’s press release and the slides it posted online:
“Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch continues to insist that Autonomy was never ‘shopped’ to Oracle. But now at least he remembers and admits to meeting with Oracle President Mark Hurd and Doug Kehring, Oracle’s head of M&A, this past April. But CEO Lynch insists that it was a purely technical meeting, limited to a ‘lively discussion of database technologies.’ Interesting, but not true. The slides Lynch showed Oracle’s Mark Hurd and Doug Kehring were all about Autonomy’s financial results, Autonomy’s stock price history, Autonomy’s Price/Earnings history and Autonomy’s stock market valuation. Ably assisting Mike Lynch’s attempt to sell Autonomy to Oracle was Silicon Valley’s most famous shopper/seller of companies, the legendary investment banker Frank Quattrone. After the sales pitch was over, Oracle refused to make an offer because Autonomy’s current market value of $6 billion was way too high.
We have put Mike Lynch’s PowerPoint slide sales-pitch up on the Oracle website – Oracle.com/PleaseBuyAutonomy – with the hope Mike Lynch will recognise his slides, his memory will be restored, and he will recall what he and Frank Quattrone discussed during their visit to Oracle last April. Yesterday, the Autonomy CEO did not remember having any meeting with Oracle. Today, he remembers the April meeting and inaccurately describes how it came about and what was discussed (see next paragraph). Tomorrow, he will need to explain his slides.
Mike Lynch describes his meeting with Oracle: “On one of my trips to SF (April 2011), Frank Quattrone whom I have known for a long time offered to introduce me to Mark hurd. Oracle was a customer and I have never met him, so it was a good opportunity. Frank does this from time to time on my visits, he has introduced me to many people. . NOTE: Frank was not engaged by Autonomy and there was no process running. The company was not for sale. I recall meeting with mark and someone else I believe called Doug. At the start of the meeting they joked that frank was there to sell them something. Frank and I made it clear that was not the case. We then met and had a lively discussion about database technologies. The meeting lasted approximately 30 mins. Frank is happy to confirm this.”
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