Mike Lynch, who has been accused of massive fraud during the 2011 acquisition of Lynch’s company, Autonomy, by Hewlett-Packard (HP) for $11 billion, has denied any wrongdoing in San Francisco federal court. The British entrepreneur, who once drew comparisons to Apple cofounder Steve Jobs and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, is facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
“I’ve had lots of reactions to what I’ve heard but I guess it’s summed up by one word: It’s surreal,” he said, as per a report by Bloomberg.
Lynch has already lost a London civil trial in 2022, and is now facing criminal charges that he duped Hewlett Packard into overpaying billions of dollars to buy Autonomy – which he said “was an extremely successful company. From a financial point of view, it was highly profitable.”
When asked by own lawyer if Autonomy was “perfect.”
“Of course it wasn’t perfect,” he said, adding “The reality of life is that it’s nuanced and it’s messy and sometimes you do your best to get through it, and companies are just like that.”

How the deal led to splitting of the company

Hewlett-Packard completed an $11 billion acquisition of British software company Autonomy in 2011. However, the deal later proved unsuccessful for the Silicon Valley giant, resulting in significant financial losses.
This negative outcome ultimately led to HP splitting into two separate companies and thousands of job reductions. Prior to finalising the acquisition, HP hired Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, to lead the company. Unfortunately, the company’s financial performance declined after her appointment.
Following the Autonomy purchase, HP uncovered evidence suggesting the software company had inflated its financial results.
Reports alleged that Autonomy had manipulated its financial records to appear more valuable before the acquisition. This alleged fraud resulted in an $8.8 billion write-down for HP and accusations against Mike Lynch, former CEO of Autonomy, and Stephen Chamberlain, former Autonomy finance executive. Both men were indicted on fraud charges in 2018.

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