HP sees stock hit new low, massive write-offs, investigations over acquisitions

HP sees stock hit new low, massive write-offs, investigations over acquisitions
The venerable PC and printer maker offered the results of its fiscal fourth quarter, and full fiscal year today. To sum it all up, HP has a hill to climb for sure. Tallying up a net income loss of $12.7 billion on $120 billion in revenue, the troubled PC maker was just getting into the bad news with investors. That left the company’s stock, already trading at 10-year lows, even lower, down over 30% in just the past month.  Nearly every business unit took a big hit, Personal Systems was down 14%, Printer revenue was down 5%, Services down 6% and Enterprise Servers declined 9%. One ray of sunshine, Software, showed growth by 14% with a solid margin behind it.

What was more troubling though was the additional write down of over $8.8 billion stemming from its acquisition of British software company Autonomy, which HP bought for $11.1 billion in 2011. HP has been conducting an internal investigation into the accounting behind its purchase of Autonomy and CEO Meg Whitman stated, “There appears to have been a willful sustained effort” to exaggerate the company’s profitability and that it “was designed to be hidden.”

Former CEO of Autonomy, Michael Lynch, disagrees as you might imagine, stating that his former company was destroyed in a year by mismanagement and infighting at HP. Nonetheless, HP has sent its findings to the SEC and the UK Serious Fraud Office and requested that investigations be started. The SEC appears to taking the matter seriously and the FBI may be getting involved as well.

Meanwhile, HP must contend with getting its house in order and getting back in the game. Unfortunately, the company seems to be moving awfully slow. Whitman has already confirmed the company will not be offering a smartphone in 2013, and the word on tablets is not very solid, and while we agree that the company should “get it right” we also think the company is missing out on the bigger picture, as clearly made evident by remarks made by the company’s PC chief, Todd Bradley.  The smartphone and tablet segments are huge money makers with respectable margins.  Taking years to get back in the game is not a guarantee of success, or in HP's case, a guarantee of anything.

HP is certainly not in the position that RIM is in, so no one is writing a eulogy. However, if HP plans to ever compete in the tablet or smartphone space again, it must move the way this “post-PC” era of tablets and smartphones moves, which is lightning fast. Before HP brings anything to market again, we will have been blessed with dozens of offerings from even the underdogs of contenders, like RIM and Nokia, not to mention LG, HTC, Samsung and the "events" put forth by Apple.

HP has many of the tools it needs in its toolbox. Let us hope there are some good things in the works.

sources: HP and Wall Street Journal



1. Android4u

Posts: 456; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

this is what happens when you have Meg Whitman as the ceo. no wonder why us Californians didn't vote her to be governor haha.

3. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

It's worth noting that all of the writedowns that HP has had to take, Autonomy, EDS, and Palm were all transactions before Whitman became CEO.

2. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

why do you really need to put RIM here?! yes they are down but they are the only company that i know right now that is bringing big effort to raise their company back!!! nokia's CEO is a trojan thats why nokia deserve to be down and hope they'll kick that stupid CEO out! and bring back MeeGo(hoping) and symbian back to life!!!! coz this is nokia! the one that is superior in both hardware and software! their hardware rules and so is software, coz i think symbian wasnt killed if nokia just listen to the foundation and give effort to developers.... while on HP, their CEO sucks big time as well! i read before that they are not making tablet and phones in 2013, that sucks! since they have these "Strong" relationship with microsoft, why not make windows phone? and bring that webOS out!!! they're good in hardware and software too but its just the management that sucks bigtime! its really sad to see that most of the tech giants before are so down right now! they should flood the market!

4. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

While it is convenient to bag on Nokia's CEO (the arguments are good on both sides), Nokia has made huge strides following its acquisition of NAVTEQ, so much so it is the dark horse filling the rear view mirror of Google. There are other components to Nokia that give it a much higher "good will" factor compared to RIM. Both companies are now underdogs, and we are cheering them on. That does not negate the unfortunate reality that might arrive if things don't go according to plan. Given those circumstances, Nokia has more and better options than RIM.

5. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

you got a point, but actually, maybe what he/she trying to say is that Nokia lost its mind to go full windows and not supporting its own symbian and MeeGo! while RIM, the only company that i know right now who give big effort to raise their name back, deserves more! and they're CEO is not a trojan like nokia's or HP's! Heins is making good steps with BB10! while nokia, its new bread and butter now is navteq and its pureview,puremotion, pure clearblack! and that's it! and what makes me hate nokia more now is that, they implement nokia maps to WIndows Phone 8 and now on firefox OS for free (partnership, but no loyalty fee) i mean, they need to charge those platform for using its maps! coz nokia maps is way better than google's! they need to gain their money back! while RIM, they dont have that money, they dont have that much technology...but we could see the effort they are doing! that nokia lacks, and so is HP... coz nokia is trolling around microsoft, who i guess is not as loyal to nokia while nokia is loyal to them! coz ballmer just prove that! he's phone is HTC (it should be lumia).. "Nokia has more and better options than RIM." i dont know wht you mean by this... RIM has the best choice of sticking to its own making! BlackBerry 10 is made by blackberry and innovation by RIM! while nokia has none now! jumping to WP fully is the most stupid of them all! if they could continue the support to symbian and MeeGo and Developer's support as well, they'll be ok and this will never going to happen! look at the new Sailfish OS of Jolla, close to BB10 but it is MeeGo, since MeeGo was the first (i know) who offer true multitasking (since from maemo)... and this is should be nokia's choice or option! not WP!

6. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

What I meant by Nokia's options versus RIM's was fairly simple. Nokia has more breadth to its product portfolio than RIM. RIM has the BlackBerry (and its related parts, BIS/BES) and QNX. Its disposition should BlackBerry 10 not deliver is akin to what Kodak is going through. Nokia can always turn back to Symbian, partner with Jolla, develop its mapping product (which it does gain solid fees from despite Firefox OS which isn't even out yet), and Nokia Siemens Networks (of which Nokia is the controlling interest) reported record profits last quarter. The CEOs of these companies make convenient targets for different reasons, and in the hear-and-now are not really germane to what fate the companies face over the next 12 months.

7. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

yeah i know, but in order to do that... ELOP must be out on NOKIA!! i dont see anything that he help nokia to rise! yeah, the new lumias are great but still hoping that they got their own software...they should partner with jolla, and return to symbian and recreate it! and yeah they got more assets tham RIM but RIM isnt as doomed as nokia right now, RIM and BlackBerry just prove that they are still relevant coz they STILL hold the 3rd spot of mobile platform! coz if windows phone plan really work, i think 3 quarters is enough to prove that WP is the good plan! they should have been n tp again...but no, they are now on #11... dont get me wrong, i love nokia...both of them...but just hate the fact that people always say that RIM is dead... coz if they're dead, why they are still on top 10? and people keep on saying that since 2010! so i hope you'll stop this comparing thing... its bias and this is a bad advertising to RIM's part! even though they dont pay you...but still hoping you'll stop comparing and saying they're dead! and i believe that BB10 is the best for RIM! and i believe that MeeGo and Symbian is best for nokia! while HP, they need to do things to do better! they should start making phones with WP on it! and later release webOS phone!

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