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Suit alleges H-P tried to back out of Autonomy deal before it closed

Zachary M. Seward
By Zachary M. Seward

Chief executive officer

A lawsuit filed against Hewlett-Packard in US federal court accuses the company of misleading investors before taking a $8.8 billion writedown over accounting maninpulation at Autonomy, the British software maker that H-P acquired last year. Click here to read the complaint.

Its most explosive charge is that H-P, aware of accounting issues at Autonomy, attempted to back out of the deal before it closed:

The suit, which is seeking class-action status, doesn’t offer any evidence to support that claim, but its source may be a Wall Street Journal article published last week. The Journal reported:

H-P’s internal team was aware of talk about accounting irregularities at the time the deal was struck, people familiar with the matter have said. At the time, one of these people said, H-P was looking for a way to unwind the deal before it closed, but couldn’t find any material accounting issues.

H-P declined to comment on the suit, which also names several current and former executives as defendants: CEO Meg Whitman, former CEO Leo Apotheker, CFO Catherine Lesjak, and senior VP James Murrin.

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