HP asks for more Autonomy time

The maker of jolly expensive printer ink which is more expensive than gold, also known as HP, has begged a court for more time to work out what it should do about the Autonomy alleged fraud case.

HP is being sued by shareholders who are furious over its $8.8 billion writedown for buying British software company Autonomy.

It has asked the court for six more weeks before deciding what to do. US District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco last September 6 gave Hewlett-Packard until Friday to vote on recommendations by a committee of independent directors.

The committee was to advise whether HP should try to have claims against various officers and directors dismissed, or join in the claims in a bid to recoup its losses.

HP said its board has reviewed the recommendations and “made decisions with respect to the actions that it deems to be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders”.

However, it has agreed with the plaintiffs’ lawyers to keep the lawsuit on hold until February 28, and discuss the board’s recommendations with them between February 18 and 20.

HP has insisted that it was the victim for having paid $11.1 billion to buy Autonomy in 2011 and has accused Autonomy officials including former Chief Executive Mike Lynch of accounting fraud.

Lynch has denied the allegations.

In November, shareholders could pursue a separate lawsuit accusing Hewlett-Packard and CEO Meg Whitman of failing to reveal soon enough in 2012 that the company may have overpaid for Autonomy or suspected fraud.

So far Judge Breyer has let Whitman’s predecessor Leo Apotheker, who engineered the Autonomy purchase, off the hook.