Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s disastrous acquisition of British software firm Autonomy continues to cast a long shadow over the company. HP paid $11.1 billion for Autonomy in late 2011, then just barely a year later, wrote off $9 billion of the $11.1 billion purchase price in December of 2012.
There has been a raft of legal actions filed by HP, among others, regarding irregularities in the doomed deal over the last couple of years, and there have been further legal developments this week.
Recent legal developments in Hewlett-Packard – Autonomy case
As of Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer is hearing hear two motions challenging a recent settlement that Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) agreed to in June, a class action derivative lawsuit claiming that H-P directors had breached their fiduciary duties in buying Autonomy and then writing off nearly all of the deal a year later.
Motion from former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain
Autonomy’s former CFO Sushovan Hussain filed one of the motions. He contends that the proposed settlement by H-P impinges on his legal rights, mainly due to an order in the settlement which appears to bar Hussain from asserting any counterclaims against H-P or its officers or directors in any future litigation.
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) issued a statement saying Hussain is just trying to get more information before being sued by H-P in the UK. Hussain, who has been characterized by H-P as one of the chief architects of the massive fraud on H-P,” is described by an anonymous H-P exec as someone wrapped “in a mantle of self-righteousness in an attempt to obtain discovery that he hopes will help him stay out of prison and defend the civil litigation he expects H-P will file in the U.K.”
Scale of Autonomy accounting irregularities
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) announced back in 2012 that around $5 billion of the $9 billion write-down was related to serious accounting improprieties at Autonomy. To date, however, the accounting problems found at Autonomy are only said to be around $200 million in either hardware sales at a loss or fake transactions, compared to more than $1 billion in annual revenue.