/// Oracle’s Ellison Vindicated in Autonomy PR Flap by HP’s $8.8 Billion Writedown

November 21, 2012  |  All Things Digital


Asa Mathat / AllThingsD.com Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and President Mark Hurd look pretty good right now in light of the disclosure of alleged accounting improprieties at Autonomy , the British software firm Hewlett-Packard acquired in 2011. You may recall a brief PR kerfuffle in which Oracle disclosed that it had been approached by investment banker Frank Quattrone, who was, as some people have it, shopping Autonomy around for a possible acquisition. Some people, including Quattrone and Autonomy’s founding CEO Mike Lynch, wouldn’t call it “shopping around” because it would have been illegal to “shop around” a U.K.-based company under that country’s securities laws without disclosing the fact to shareholders. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Remember, however, that in the wake of HP’s move to acquire Autonomy, Ellison said that at something north of $11 billion, HP had paid an “absurdly high” price, and cattily followed that by saying that Oracle had “taken a pass” on Autonomy. Lynch, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal days later , said that no such overtures to Oracle had ever been made. Oracle, just to set the record straight, mind you, with absolutely no other agenda in mind, fired back that Lynch apparently had a bad memory and had forgotten about a meeting, indeed a pair of meetings, involving Hurd, Lynch and Quattrone and some PowerPoint slides. “Oh, you mean those slides,” Lynch said. No, he didn’t really say that, but he might have. Anyway, at that point, Lynch clarified that he had indeed accepted an offer to meet Hurd to talk about database technologies but he was “not there to sell anything.” Okay, then. Again, just to clarify the record and nothing else, Oracle dug through its files and found the PowerPoint slides from at least two meetings that Lynch and Quattrone had held with Hurd. Quattrone owned up that the slides were his and that the idea had been to pitch Autonomy to Oracle independently of Lynch or Autonomy “as an idea.” Autonomy had already been the subject of repeated rumors about a nonexistent bidding war for the company that had Oracle and Microsoft wrestling over it. And the meetings at Oracle took place in early 2011 after those rumors had been in the water a little while

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Oracle’s Ellison Vindicated in Autonomy PR Flap by HP’s $8.8 Billion Writedown


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