HP investors file lawsuit over Autonomy


After releasing a non-cash impairment charge of $8.8 billion related to its acquisition of the British software company Autonomy in 2011, Hewlett-Packard is now being sued by investors who are claiming the deal has contributed to the company’s plummeting stock price.

According to the Financial Times, the class action lawsuit, which was filed in San Francisco on Monday, alleges that HP issued false and misleading statements on its financial performance and prospects between August 2011, when the $11 billion Autonomy deal was announced, and Nov. 20, when it made the $8.8 billion write down associated with the acquisition.

As noted by Bloomberg, the lawsuit also names as a defendant HP SVP James Murrin. As the company’s chief accounting officer during the period at issue, Murrin sold 132,500 shares for almost $3.5 million while “in the possession of materially adverse and non-public information.”

HP CEO Meg Whitman and the company’s former CEO, Leo Apotheker, are named as defendants, along with CFO Catherine Lesjak.

Earlier this month HP announced the majority of this impairment charge, more than $5 billion, was linked to “serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures discovered by an HP internal investigation and forensic review into Autonomy’s accounting practices prior to its purchase by HP.”

About Author

Editor, Americas
Roberta Prescott is responsible for Latin America reporting news and analysis, interviewing key stakeholders. Roberta has worked as an IT and telecommunication journalist since March 2005, when she started as a reporter with InformationWeek Brasil magazine and its website IT Web. In July 2006, Prescott was promoted to be the editor-in-chief, and, beyond the magazine and website, was in charge for all ICT products, such as IT events and CIO awards. In mid-2010, she was promoted to the position of executive editor, with responsibility for all the editorial products and content of IT Mídia. Prescott has worked as a journalist since 1998 and has three journalism prizes. In 2009, she won, along with InformationWeek Brasil team, the press prize 11th Prêmio Imprensa Embratel. In 2008, she won the 7th Unisys Journalism Prize and in 2006 was the editor-in-chief when InformationWeek Brasil won the 20th media award Prêmio Veículos de Comunicação. She graduated in Journalism by the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas, has done specialization in journalism at the Universidad de Navarra (Spain, 2003) and Master in Journalism at IICS – Universidad de Navarra (Brazil, 2010) and MBA – Executive Education at the Getulio Vargas Foundation.