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HP responds to legal intervention from Autonomy executives

Tit for tat spat getting serious
Tue Aug 05 2014, 12:17
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HP HAS FILED PAPERS responding to an intervention in its continuing legal wrangles against the founder and former CEO of Autonomy Michael Lynch.

The move escalates the war of words between the US technology giant and the UK entrepreneur after Autonomy's former CFO Sushovan Hussain attempted to block settlement of three lawsuits from shareholders.

HP wrote down the value of Autonomy, which it purchased for $12bn, posting an $8.8bn loss based on claims of "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" predating the purchase. This led to allegations flying back and forth between Lynch and HP CEO Meg Whitman.

Meanwhile, Hussain maintains that company executives were let off the hook during the acquisition, and that HP knew of Autonomy's practices before the takeover and went into the deal with eyes wide open.

The settlements would have ended former shareholders rights to claim damages from HP, and instead they would be invited to join a new action against executives including Lynch and Hussain.

Hussain told the court that allowing this to happen would "forever bury from disclosure the real reason for its 2012 write-down of Autonomy: HP's own destruction of Autonomy's success after the acquisition".

The HP complaint argues, "The notion that (Hussain) should be permitted to intervene and challenge the substance of a settlement designed to protect the interests of the company he defrauded is ludicrous."

It continues, "The shareholder plaintiffs who originally sued HP's directors and officers now agree that Hussain, along with Autonomy's founder and CEO, Michael Lynch, should be held accountable for this fraud."

Although there is little to add to the previous rhetoric between the two sides, HPs response represents a signal that peace is not likely to break out any time soon. µ

 

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