The Times of London is reporting that HP tried to sell its Autonomy software unit to SAP, but HP disputes that account. HP purchased Autonomy for $11 billion, but later wrote down much of value of the firm, and is now embroiled in lawsuits related to the purchase.
The original report written by Nic Fildes at The Times of London stated, “The German software giant SAP has confirmed that it was approached by Hewlett-Packard about whether it would like to buy the controversial British software business Autonomy. It is understood that the discussions were held before Meg Whitman, the chief executive of HP, said during a visit to London last month that Autonomy was not for sale.”
But The Business Insider carried a statement from HP, which said, “Contrary to reports in the media, HP has no interest is selling Autonomy. During the past year, we’ve received inquiries from SAP about purchasing HP software assets, and time and again we’ve said ‘no.’ We believe Autonomy will play an important role in HP’s long-term strategy.”
According to All Things D’s Arik Hesseldahl, “Sources tell me that the conversations on the topic of Autonomy potentially changing owners, if you could even call them conversations, were so informal as to be almost meaningless. ‘Autonomy was never shopped to SAP,’ one source told me emphatically.”
Jeffrey Burt with eWeek noted, “The Autonomy deal, which was done during the 11-month tenure of [HP CEO Meg] Whitman predecessor and ex-SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, has been a costly and embarrassing one for HP. Just more than a year after closing the deal—which was made while Whitman was on HP’s board of directors—HP announced it was taking an $8.8 billion write-down, due in large part to accounting problems at the software company.”