|By Maureen O'Gara||
|October 3, 2011 07:15 AM EDT||
Last week Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said during a conference call with analysts that Autonomy was shopped to Oracle before HP bought it and that he was appalled at the price asked.
He also said he didn't need Autonomy because unstructured data can already be added to Oracle's database, a better solution than a standalone unstructured product.
What Larry said about Autonomy being shopped around jibed with what the rumor mill had been saying but then Autonomy chief Mike Lynch told the Wall Street Journal it wasn't true that Autonomy was shopped to Oracle- (and that Larry's grasp of the way unstructured data should be handled was dodgy) - although he conceded that some investment banker might have thrown out Autonomy's name as a possible buyout candidate for Oracle. He also said that Oracle builds products using Autonomy technology.
Well, after Lynch described an April meeting with Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd and Oracle M&A chief Doug Kehring as merely a "lively discussion of database technologies," Oracle Wednesday called out Lynch, branded him a fibber in a press release, and produced the pitch presentations that it said Lynch and dealmaker Frank Quattrone brought to the meeting.
The slides, as Oracle says, are all about Autonomy's financial results, stock price history, price/earnings history and stock market valuation. Autonomy's market value then was $6 billion, which Oracle deemed "way too high." HP wound up paying $10.3 billion.
Oracle's press release says, "We have put Mike Lynch's PowerPoint slide sales-pitch up on the Oracle web site - with the hope Mike Lynch will recognize his slides, his memory will be restored, and he will recall what he and Frank Quattrone discussed during their visit to Oracle last April. Yesterday, the Autonomy CEO did not remember having any meeting with Oracle. Today, he remembers the April meeting and inaccurately describes how it came about and what was discussed. Tomorrow, he will need to explain his slides."
Lynch had e-mailed his description of his meeting with Oracle to some in the UK press saying: "On one of my trips to SF (April 2011), Frank Quattrone whom I have known for a long time offered to introduce me to Mark Hurd. Oracle was a customer and I have never met him, so it was a good opportunity. Frank does this from time to time on my visits, he has introduced me to many people. NOTE: Frank was not engaged by Autonomy and there was no process running. The company was not for sale. I recall meeting with Mark and someone else I believe called Doug. At the start of the meeting they joked that Frank was there to sell them something. Frank and I made it clear that was not the case. We then met and had a lively discussion about database technologies. The meeting lasted approximately 30 mins. Frank is happy to confirm this."
Not only is the name of Qatalyst, his company, on the PowerPoint slide-desk, Bloomberg has waded in with a January e-mail sent from Quattrone to Hurd that it just happened to obtain in which Quattrone touted the value of Autonomy as an acquisition. "It's a very strategic asset that could alter the balance of power in the industry for whoever might acquire it," he said.
Quattrone claimed Thursday that the slides, which he says he sent to Hurd in January "for the purpose of our independently pitching Autonomy" to Oracle and that they "were not used in our April meeting."
Autonomy claimed it never saw the slides before, adding "Oracle seems a little confused about the sequence of events and origins of the data it has received, something that would suggest it needs better management of and insight into the unstructured data on its internal systems. We would be delighted to help."
Lynch is hazy on why his sugar daddy, the man who made him terribly, terribly rich by agreeing to pay a premium for his company, was fired.
Although the deal is loathed by HP shareholders, Lynch, who was in California when Léo was removed last week, says he met with HP executive chairman Ray Lane and the company's new chief executive Meg Whitman and "They said, ‘We're still completely supportive of the strategy.'"
When the New York Times asked him why Apotheker was canned if the strategy was still the same, he reportedly said, "‘There was not great communication'" of what HP is trying to do."
In that case, Lynch has a few ideas and they may or may not jibe with Lane's notions that HP is a hardware company, which Lynch contends "underplays the role Autonomy's software has in HP's future servers and storage devices, even printers."
He wants to optimize them for Autonomy by the end of next year and get HP's services business flogging Autonomy. One plan, he told the Times, is "to store a copy of everything scanned and printed by an HP device somewhere in the cloud. That way, for example, a phone camera could read a wall poster for a concert and be taken to a Web site to purchase tickets, bypassing the need for embedded bar codes to store information." Elsewhere, he mentioned dedicated appliances.
See Oracle.com/PleaseBuyAutonomy for the slides.