IT giant Oracle has accused Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch of lying, after he denied having attempted to sell Autonomy to Oracle earlier this year.
When HP first announced its intention to acquire Autonomy, Oracle alleged that Lynch had attempt to "shop" the company to it in April 2011, but that the "price was way too high".
Lynch denied that allegation, claiming he and Silicon Valley investment banker Frank Quattrone had met with Oracle co-president (and former HP CEO) Mark Hurd and M&A chief Douglas Kehring purely to discuss technology.
Oracle responded yesterday, saying that either Lynch "has a very poor memory or he’s lying". The company decribed Lynch’s statement as "another big whopper". It also published what it claims to be the PowerPoint slides that Lynch used to pitch Autonomy to Oracle.
Autonomy has responded by saying "Oracle seems a little confused about the sequence of events and origins of the data it has received, something that would suggests it needs better management of and insight into the unstructured data on its internal systems. We would be delighted to help.”
Meanwhile, Quattrone has said that his firm provided Oracle with the PowerPoint presentations in question, during a discussion about selling Autonomy to Oracle that took place in January 2011, not the April meeting.
"The slides Oracle posted publicly were sent by me to Mark Hurd in January," Frank Quattrone wrote in an email to Mike Lynch earlier, according to Autonomy. "[They] were prepared by [Quattrone’s firm] Qatalyst and were for the purpose of our independently pitching Autonomy as an idea to Oracle."
This suggests that Quattrone pitched Autonomy to Oracle without Lynch’s knowledge or participation.
Investment banker Quatttrone was an instrumental figure in the dot com bubble. Set up in 2008, Quattrone’s firm Qatalyst has been involved in some of the largest IT acquisitions of recent years, including Google’s takeover of device maker Motorola Mobile.
Combined with the apparently mercurial behaviour of Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors, the episode does little to dissaude the impression that the trillion-dollar IT industry is influenced greatly by the whim of a handful of individuals.