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Now UK Serious Fraud Office is looking at HP-Autonomy deal, too


By Noel Young, Correspondent

March 11, 2013 | 2 min read

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation related to the purchase by Hewlett Packard of Britain's Autonomy Corp, the American company said yesterday.

HP: Don't fire the board!

The British authorities are following the U.S. Justice Department in probing Autonomy, which Hewlett-Packard acquired for $10.3 billion in 2011, said Bloomberg.

HP later wrote down most of the acquisition, claiming Autonomy’s managers gave a false picture of the software maker’s financial health before the deal closed.

“Representatives of the U.K. Serious Fraud Office advised HP that they had also opened an investigation relating to Autonomy,” Hewlett-Packard said in a filing on Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Serious Fraud Office told Hewlett-Packard of its investigation on February 6. In the US, Justice Department representatives informed the company on November 21 of their probe, Hewlett-Packard said.

The computer maker booked a huge $8.8 billion write-down related to Autonomy last year after, said the company, finding some revenue had been recorded prematurely or improperly.

Firms advising investors have urged shareholders to vote against the re-election of HP Chairman Ray Lane and other directors, saying that they failed to properly vet the purchase.

But Rajiv Gupta, an HP board member, who hasn’t been targeted by investors, defended the current board.

In a letter published separately by Hewlett-Packard, he wrote, “Losing some of our directors in an abrupt and disorderly manner could undermine our efforts to stabilise the company.

“What the company needs now is stability and consistency of leadership.”


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