Wednesday 17 January 2018

HP files $5bn lawsuit as Autonomy row escalates

Hewlett-Packard: Legal battle
Hewlett-Packard: Legal battle

Jeremy Hodges

Hewlett-Packard has escalated its two-year-old battle with Michael Lynch, suing the Autonomy co-founder, as well as a former chief financial officer, for $5.1bn (€4.75bn).

Hewlett-Packard claims that before it agreed to buy software company Autonomy for $10bn in 2011, Mr Lynch and other managers gave an overly optimistic representation of its finances. The suit was filed in London on Monday, two months after UK prosecutors dropped a fraud probe into the deal.

"HP can confirm that, on March 30, a claim form was filed against Michael Lynch and Sushovan Hussain alleging they engaged in fraudulent activities while executives at Autonomy," a spokeswoman for Hewlett-Packard said in a statement.

The 49-year-old Lynch and Hewlett-Packard and have been at odds since 2012, when the company wrote down $8.8bn connected to the acquisition and said more than $5bn was the result of accounting improprieties by Autonomy.

Autonomy's former management team responded to the lawsuit by saying they will counter-sue Hewlett-Packard for more than £100m, according to a statement from an external public relations agency.

"The former management of Autonomy announces today they will file claims against HP for loss and damage caused by false and negligent statements made against them by HP on 20 November 2012 and in HP's subsequent smear campaign," the ex-management team, including Lynch, said in a statement.

The UK's Serious Fraud Office dropped a probe into the takeover citing "insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction".

Irish Independent

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