Dell Computer head honcho Michael Dell is claiming his company had an opportunity to acquire Autonomy before Hewlett-Packard did, but declined because the asking price was too expensive.
Though Dell didn't mention a specific figure, he told the Sunday Telegraph the decision was an easy one given the amount of money Autonomy was seeking.
"That was an overwhelmingly obvious conclusion that any reasonable person could draw," Dell said in the interview.
Like HP, Dell is the midst of a concerted push to build out its enterprise software portfolio. It added storage, security and management software to its arsenal in its $2.4 billion acquisition of Quest, which closed in September.
HP closed its $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy last October but that deal, at this point in time, has not yielded the expected benefits. In addition to ongoing integration challenges with Autonomy, HP last month wrote down $8.8 billion from the acquisition and accused former Autonomy executives of accounting improprieties.
Michael Dell's comments are similar to ones Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made in an earnings call last September, when he claimed Autonomy had shopped itself to Oracle for around $6 billion.
"We looked at the price and thought it was absurdly high. We had no interest in making the Autonomy acquisition," Ellison said at the time.
After Autonomy co-founder and former CEO Mike Lynch denied Ellison's assertion, Oracle posted PowerPoint slides to its website that it claimed Lynch and investment banker Frank Quattrone had shown as part of a sales pitch to Oracle executives the previous April.
Autonomy has insisted that its meeting with Oracle was of a technical nature and not related to an acquisition. As reported by All Things Digital, U.K. law requires companies to inform shareholders when they are in the process of shopping themselves to potential suitors.
This isn't the first time Dell has called out HP in the public forum. Last August, after HP announced it was looking to sell its PC business, Dell couldn't resist the urge to take a shot at his longtime market rival. "Goodbye HP, Sorry you don't want to be in PCs anymore. But we do more than ever. How would you say goodbye to HP?" Dell said in a tweet last Aug. 20.
PUBLISHED DEC. 10, 2012