Hewlett-Packard appears close to settling a shareholder lawsuit over its $11 purchase in 2011 of British software company Autonomy, which resulted in HP later writing off $8.8 billion of the deal, claiming it had been duped into paying too much for the firm.
“Under the terms of the settlement, involving three lawsuits, the attorneys for the shareholders have agreed to drop all claims against HP’s current and former executives, including CEO Meg Whitman, board members and advisers to the company,” Reuters reported Friday, quoting an unnamed source.
“The exception to that will be former officials at Autonomy,” it added. “As part of the agreement, the shareholders’ attorneys will assist HP in pursuing claims against Autonomy’s co-founder and former CEO Michael Lynch, its former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, and potentially others related to Autonomy, the source said. The precise nature of such claims and when HP might file them could not be learned.”
HP has long claimed that Autonomy executives improperly inflated the value of their company before HP bought it, a claim Lynch has steadfastly denied.
Asked for comment, a spokesman for Lynch and his former management team on Friday said, “We continue to reject HP’s allegations, and note that over recent months a number of documents have emerged that prove Meg Whitman misled her shareholders. We hope this matter will now move beyond a smear campaign based on selective disclosure and HP will finally give a full explanation.”
HP spokesman Michael Thacker confirmed that the company “is in serious discussions to settle the shareholder derivative litigation related to Autonomy,” but added that “no final deal has been reached yet.”
U.S. and British authorities are investigating HP’s allegations.
Photo by Kristina Sangsahachart, Daily News