HP forms Lynch mob

The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, is whipping together a mob to go for the former owner of British software company Autonomy.

The company has settled litigation over its troubled $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy and is now going to go after Michael Lynch, its former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, and potentially others related to Autonomy.

Part of the agreement with the shareholders is that their lawyers will assist HP in pursuing claims against Automony.

It is not clear what HP sort of attack the combined armies of lawyers will be using. It will probably be something like Lynch failed to tell HP that his company was not making any serious money. HP said it has evidence showing how Autonomy “created the illusion” that it was a high growth company.

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”.

Sources close to an HP investigation into the matter say that the technology giant believes that Autonomy’s results and prospects were made to look much better than they were.

This is something Lynch has consistently denied. He said HP is blaming him for its own failure to manage Autonomy after the acquisition.

“This had the effect of misleading investors and HP”, it said in a statement.

Former HP chief executive Leo Apotheker, the architect of the Autonomy deal who was ousted in September 2011 just weeks after it was announced, said he believed the conclusions of a special committee of HP board members that has reviewed the shareholder lawsuit would be a “welcome measure of vindication”.