All is not well at Meg Whitman's HP, we learned during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call this morning. HP just recorded a $9 billion devaluation of its assets stemming from serious accounting tomfoolery at a company that HP bought for $11 billion last year. Ouch.
Last August, HP bought the British software company Autonomy for $11.1 billion making it one of HP's biggest assets. We knew at the time that it was probably a mistake, but the deal turned out to be so much worse than we could have imagined. In today's call, HP claimed that Autonomy's books had been cooked before HP ever got there, and the company will take an $8.8 billion hit to its balance sheet to compensate. Some nitty-gritty from the earnings statement: