Recently, the business press has flooded the markets with countless stories of H-P’s striking write-off of $8.8 billion in assets related to its 2011 acquisition of British software company Autonomy.  What’s gotten my attention, and that of many “bean counters,” is that over $5 billion of this “impairment charge” was attributed to questionable accounting practices (i.e., irregularities) that were not detected by three of the major international auditing  firms, as well as a number of “respected” investment advisors.  But what really makes my blood boil is the market’s cavalier attitude toward this “big bath” loss, which may well be one of the most cleverly executed earnings management strategies in recent financial history. 

AuthorAnthony Catanach
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