U.K. authorities have launched an investigation into the way software company Autonomy’s ran its books before HP bought it, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said.U.S. authorities are also investigating, HP announced in December.
All this poking around stems from HP’s claims that Autonomy was misstating its financial performance before HP purchased the company for $11 billion in August 2011.
HP initially said the alleged deception cost it $5 billion—the amount that the company believes it overpaid.
Autonomy founder Mike Lynch has vehemently denied the charges. He says that HP’s mismanagement of Autonomy after the acquisition was the problem.
HP accused Autonomy of booking hardware sales as software, improperly booking deals with its resellers, and not recognising software-as-a-service sales correctly. (Here’s a more detailed rundown on HP’s accusations.)
Business Insider took a closer look at one big Autonomy deal, whose details were revealed in a lawsuit with a former sales employee.
Since HP went public with its accusations, CEO Meg Whitman admitted that HP “paid too much” for Autonomy, but she also laid the blame on the auditors, Deloitte—not HP’s board, which vetted the acquisition.
In a statement on his blog acknowledging the U.K. investigation, Lynch also took cover behind Deloitte, writing:
We welcome this investigation. Autonomy received unqualified audit reports throughout its life as a public company. This includes the period in question, during which Autonomy was audited by Deloitte.
Deloitte has denied knowledge of any alleged fraud, giving us this statement.
“Deloitte UK notes that the Financial Reporting Council has announced an investigation into the published financial reporting of Autonomy Corporation plc. We will cooperate fully with the FRC’s investigation into these matters. As previously stated, Deloitte had no knowledge of any accounting improprieties or misrepresentations in Autonomy’s financial statements. We conducted our audit work in full compliance with regulation and professional standards.”