Business, Enterprise, Hardware

HP Takes $8.8 Billion Write Down Due to Losses from Autonomy Acquisition

HP [NASDAQ:HPQ] today reported their earnings for the fourth fiscal quarter ending October 12th. This also wrapped up their results for the fiscal year of 2012. The company itself, actually posted a non-GAAP annual EPS of $4.05 when the nearly $17B of write downs are not accounted for, which actually sits within their expected outlook of $4.05 to $4.07 per share. However, due to the $17B write downs HP actually posted a GAAP loss per share of $6.41. Interestingly, we talked back in June how HP’s layoffs would only be the beginning for the company’s turmoil, if only we knew how right we’d be.

This past write down that HP had to claim came as a result of Deloitte’s audit of their acquisition of Autonomy Coproration a U.K. software maker under the helm of Leo Apotheker in 2011. This write down came as a result of ‘active concealment’ of these accounting irregularities that Autonomy had been hiding from HP. The auditor stated that it would have been virtually impossible for HP to see these accounting irregularities at the time of acquisition considering their evasion.

HP paid $10.3 billion for Autonomy back in 2011 when Leo was CEO. However, as a result of the audit by Deloitte, they have found accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company prior to the acquisition. These findings have been referred to the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the UK authorities to investigate further regarding wrongdoing.

This is the second quarter in a row where HP is writing off their losses on a prior acquisition. Last quarter, HP wrote off $8 billion from their acquisition back in 2010 of Electronic Data Systems under the helm of Mark Hurd which was a result of no real profits coming from the $13.9 billion purchase price that they paid back in 2010.

As a result, HP is taking a total write down of almost $17B for the fiscal year 2012 with $8.8 billion this quarter and $8 billion last quarter.

Now, If you look at their actual company ignoring these write downs, HP actually grew revenue and increased their operating margin from 9.7 percent to 10.4 percent. Also, ignoring the write downs they would have managed a solid $2.3B in net income compared to $2.4B from the previous quarter. Admittedly, these figures are on almost $30B in revenue which does put their overall profit margins significantly lower than the rest of the IT sector which is one of HP’s worst problems as a company.

Looking at HP’s balance sheets we can see that the company currently has $11B in cash and cash equivalents, up $3B over the previous year. They’ve also reduced their total assets by over $20B with almost all of that coming from the nearly $17B in write downs. HP’s assets, as a result, come down to $108B from $129B in 2011. HP has, however, paid down some of their long term debt, but it still hovers around $20B which is a staggering number when you consider that at their current rate of earnings it would take them 10 years to pay off.

Looking at their business segments on their own, we can see that HP’s Personal Systems Group (PC) actually grew by $100M quarter over quarter in terms of revenue but reduced earnings by $100M to $309M from $409M but still down year over year. Looking at their Printing Group, you can see that they stayed flat in revenue at about $6B while earnings grew $100M from $949M to $1.067B however, still down year over year. Their Services Group reported essentially flat revenue quarter over quarter and down year over year, much like the other divisions. A detailed chart is included below to break down HP’s $29B in revenue and where it came from by division.

Overall, this past quarter and past year have not been good with HP having to lay off workers and write down nearly $17B in only two quarters. Here’s to hoping that Meg Whitman can turn around HP in 2013, however, considering the company’s current trajectory and plans there is not much hope.