What's Important in the Financial World (3/12/2013)
The U.K. Probes HP
The never-ending battle over the Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) buyout of Autonomy continues. HP took a $5 billion write-off less than a year after the deal. It seems that the big company was duped by Autonomy's financial claims, or so it says. Now, the United Kingdom has decided that it should weigh in. According to the BBC:
The UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating the sale of technology firm Autonomy to Hewlett Packard, according to a filing from HP.
It joins the US Department of Justice and the UK accounting regulator in questioning the firm.
A number of investors and due diligence experts believe that some fault sits with HP management and its board. The company engaged investment banks and auditors to review the numbers. Certainly, with so much money involved, it would be prudent to make a meticulous evaluation. HP clearly did not. Now it has to rely on regulators, and probably the court system, to clean up the mess.
Treasury Sells GM Shares
The Treasury Department continues to dump massive numbers of shares in General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), either because it wants to show it can get some taxpayer money back from its bailout of the largest American car maker, or its does not like the firm's future prospects. Certainly GM's years of losses in Europe may be a trigger for Treasury's concerns. In its monthly TARP Report to Congress, the Treasury Department reported:
In February, Treasury's brokers for GM stock sales informed Treasury that they had engaged six smaller broker dealers, including minority and women owned broker dealers, assist with Treasury's sales of its GM common stock.
In February 2013, Treasury received total net proceeds of approximately $489.9 million from the sales of GM common stock To date, Treasury has recovered approximately $ 29.8 billion of its investment in GM through repayments, sales of stock, dividends, interest, and other income.
Lenovo Sniffs Around BlackBerry
Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker, is once again hinting it might like to own BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY). Given the battered Canadian company's results, it is hard to see the appeal. But Lenovo has no real spot in the smartphone market, which is a vulnerability as it ponders the shift of consumer buying activity from personal computers to handheld devices. Lenovo may believe it needs to take a long shot. According to EWeek:
Lenovo, which offers Android-based smartphones, may be in the market for the troubled device maker, according to Lenovo's CEO. Lenovo executives, less than two months after disavowing rumors that they were interested in buying struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry, reportedly are again raising that possibility.
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing told a French financial newspaper in an interview that was published March 11 that a deal for BlackBerry "could possibility make sense," though he would first have to assess the market and BlackBerry's standing in it.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: BBRY, GM, HPQ