HP to settle shareholder suit over Autonomy debacle
US firm, stakeholders to pursue legal action against former execs of British software company
HP has agreed to settle three separate shareholder lawsuits over its scandal-ridden $11.1bn acquisition of UK-based software firm Autonomy Corp, Reuters reported.
Under the agreement, shareholders' legal representatives will drop claims against current and former HP executives, including chief executive Meg Whitman, board members and company advisors. Instead, lawyers for the shareholders will assist HP in pursuing actions against Autonomy executives, including former CEO Michael Lynch, and former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain.
HP acquired Autonomy in November 2011 under then- chief executive Leo Apotheker, but by November 2012 the US firm was forced to apply an $8.8bn impairment charge, with around $5.5bn connected to alleged accounting irregularities and insufficient disclosures on the part of Autonomy's senior executives.
Apotheker's decision to buy Autonomy was part of a business realignment strategy announced in August 2011, to capture more of the enterprise services sector following the slowing of PC sales. He was forced to step down as CEO in September 2011, mere weeks after the Autonomy deal was announced.