HP’s legal battle with shareholders stemming from its troubled $11.1 billion acquisition of the British software firm Autonomy is reportedly winding down. According to Reuters, HP shareholders have agreed to drop all claims against current and former executives at HP, including CEO Meg Whitman. Autonomy’s co-founder and former CEO Michael Lynch, along with other former Autonomy officials, weren’t quite as lucky. Shareholder attorneys and HP will go forward with claims against the former Autonomy leadership team that could include their misrepresentation of the company before the acquisition. Lynch has consistently denied HP’s allegations of serious fraud on the part of Autonomy during the acquisition process, instead blaming the computing giant for shoddy management following the deal.
Hewlett-Packard Co and attorneys representing shareholders have agreed to settle litigation over its troubled $11.1 billion acquisition of British software company Autonomy Corp, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. 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, the source said. The exception to that will be former officials at Autonomy. 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. The settlement, which followed mediation, is expected to be announced as soon as Monday. The source said it is likely to be signed before Monday. HP took an $8.8 billion impairment charge in November 2012 for its purchase of Autonomy only just over a year earlier, with more than $5 billion of that linked to what HP said at the time were “serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures.” The size of the loss, and the speed with which it occurred, marks the deal as one of the most disastrous done by a major company in recent years.