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HP sues former Autonomy CFO

Cliff Saran

HP is suing Autonomy's former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, over his part in the 2011 acquisition of the UK software company.

The HP court document alleges that Hussain tried to block the company's settlement with shareholders, who were seeking damages over the $8.8bn that was written off because of the acquisition.

Mike-Lynch.jpg

Hussain and former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch (pictured) have called for HP to disclose documents related to the acquisition.

In June, Lynch wrote: “It seems CEO Meg Whitman will be using a large sum of HP’s money to avoid explaining in court why she made false allegations regarding Autonomy in November 2012. 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 that HP will finally give a full explanation.”

The HP court document stated: “Hussain's interests are antagonistic to HP’s. His motion to intervene should be denied, as should his brazen and improper attempt to obtain discovery.”

HP's document added: “Hussain was one of the chief architects of the massive fraud on HP that precipitated this litigation. The notion that he should be permitted to intervene and challenge the substance of a settlement designed to protect the interests of the company he defrauded is ludicrous.”

Last month, Reuters reported that Hussain said in a court filing that the “collusive and unfair” settlement with shareholders, if approved by a federal judge, would let HP “forever bury from disclosure the real reason for its 2012 write-down of Autonomy”.

The controversy started when former CEO Leo Apotheker announced that he would sell HP’s market-leading PC business to fund the $10.2bn (£7.1bn) acquisition of Autonomy in 2011. In 2012, HP reportedly wrote down the value of Autonomy by $8.8bn and referred the implicated managers to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK Serious Fraud Office. 

Investors then launched a class action lawsuit over the company’s botched acquisition of Autonomy. Earlier this year, HP stated that Autonomy made 80% less profit and 54% less revenue than was originally stated.


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