HP mulls legal action on Autonomy fraud claims, needs more time

Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:31pm EST
 
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By Jonathan Stempel

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co said on Friday it has made decisions on how to address shareholders' securities fraud claims over its $8.8 billion writedown for its purchase of British software company Autonomy Plc, but wants six more weeks to decide what legal course to pursue.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco had on Sept. 6 given Hewlett-Packard until Friday to vote on recommendations by a committee of independent directors.

The committee was to advise whether the Palo Alto, California-based personal computer and printer company should try to have claims against various officers and directors dismissed, or join the claims in a bid to recoup its losses.

In a Friday court filing, Hewlett-Packard 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."

It nonetheless said it has agreed with the plaintiffs' lawyers to keep the lawsuit on hold until Feb. 28, and discuss the board's recommendations with them between Feb. 18 and 20.

Joseph Cotchett, a lawyer representing shareholders, was not immediately available for comment.

Hewlett-Packard has claimed it was itself a victim for having paid $11.1 billion to buy Autonomy in 2011.

It took the writedown in November 2012, accusing Autonomy officials including former Chief Executive Mike Lynch of accounting fraud. Lynch has denied the allegations.   Continued...