The technology business week: Shareholders sue HP over autonomy acquisition, Facebook to buy Waze?

13 May 2013

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week.

HP shareholders sue the company over Autonomy acquisition

Hewlett-Packard (HP) shareholders are taking the PC giant to court, accusing the company in a lawsuit of failing to properly examine the financial practices of Autonomy prior to acquiring the software firm.

The lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco district court in California. It names HP CEO Meg Whitman, predecessor Leo Apotheker, former chairman Ray Lane and Autonomy founder Mike Lynch among eight defendants, the Guardian reported.

The defendants are accused of ignoring evidence from whistleblowers and hiding concerns about the deal, which resulted in a lack of ‘cursory due diligence on a polluted and vastly overvalued asset.’

Court documents claim HP’s board of directors were too busy with company politics to properly supervise the takeover.

In November 2012, one year after buying Autonomy for US$10bn, HP reported that serious accounting improprieties were discovered at Autonomy, causing it to write-down US$8.8bn on its Q4 and full-year 2012 results.

HP said in a statement that it relied on the audited financial statements and the representations of Autonomy’s management and its auditors regarding Autonomy’s business and revenue.

Israeli news claims Facebook and Waze are in final talks for US$1bn takeover

Just over a year after it was announced that Facebook would shell out US$1bn for photo-sharing app Instagram, the social network is apparently gearing up for a second billion-dollar acquisition – this time with its sights set on Israeli driving community start-up Waze Mobile.

The award-winning Waze app allows users with GPS-enabled smartphones to contribute to its maps, fostering a community of drivers that keep each other up to date with what’s happening on the road. The Waze user base has grown rapidly in the past year and Israeli daily newspaper Calcalist claims it currently has 45m users.

Calcalist also reports (in Hebrew) that an acquisition deal between Waze and Facebook worth US$800m to US$1bn is at an advanced stage of completion, as does Ynet and The Marker. snaps up social bookmarking start-up Clipboard

Cloud software giant has acquired social bookmarking service Clipboard in a deal valued between US$10m and US$20m.

Clipboard CEO Dr Gary Flake will take up the role of vice-president of engineering at and the start-up’s core engineering and design team will be joining him in’s Seattle, Washington, office.

Clipboard will be shuttered on 30 June as the team focuses on integrating its functionality into products. Users can access their clips and boards from a personal archive or they can wait for their data to be deleted forever one week after shut-down.

McAfee to acquire firewall protection player Stonesoft

McAfee is jostling for leadership position in network security with its bid to acquire Stonesoft Oyj, a provider of next-generation network firewall products, for about US$389m in cash.

Stonesoft, based in Helsinki, Finland, delivers solutions to secure the flow of information and simplify security management. The company’s portfolio of next-generation firewalls, evasion prevention systems, and SSL VPN solutions addresses businesses of any size.

McAfee plans to integrate Stonesoft’s offerings with other McAfee products, said Michael DeCesare, president of McAfee.

UPC Ireland surpasses more than 1m subscribers during Q1

UPC Ireland grew its total number of subscribers to a record 1,012,600 during the first three months of this year, including 23,800 subscriptions for its fibre-powered broadband, TV and phone services from homes and businesses throughout Ireland.

Compared to the year-ago quarter, total subscriptions increased by 10pc, or 90,000, to 1,012,600.

UPC Ireland counted 382,300 digital TV customers during the quarter, as well as increases in the number of broadband and home phone customers.

Broadband customers amounted to 315,700 during the quarter, reflecting a 16pc year-on-year increase in broadband subscriptions.

Home phone subscriptions rose 36pc year-on-year to total 254,700 phone customers.

UPC is the European division of Liberty Global, Inc, which reported first-quarter revenue of US$2.8bn.

Telefónica’s net profit jumps 20.6pc to €902m in first quarter

Telefónica, owner of O2 Ireland, reported a 20.6pc increase in first-quarter net income of €902m, up from €748m a year ago.

Revenue at the telecoms company dropped 8.8pc to €14.1bn in the quarter from €15.51bn last year, however.

For the second consecutive quarter, Latin America generated more than 50pc of the consolidated revenue (which totalled €14.14m).

By region, Telefónica Latinoamérica accounted for 51pc of consolidated revenue, reflecting a sustained organic growth of 6.8pc year-on-year underscored by the steady growth of the mobile business.

Telefónica Europe’s contribution to revenue fell to 47pc of the total.

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