HP Faces Counter Suit From Autonomy's Mike Lynch Over $11 Billion Deal
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British tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch on Thursday said he would file a claim against Hewlett-Packard for $150 million in damages over allegations the U.S company made about his role in the acquisition of his software company Autonomy in 2011.
Lynch's action marks the latest twist in a long-running battle between the HP and Lynch that has led to multiple lawsuits over who is to blame for a disastrous deal that cost HP shareholders billions of dollars of value.
HP's $11 billion purchase of Autonomy was supposed to form the central part of the U.S. group's move into software. But the deal turned sour a year later when HP wrote off three-quarters of the British company's value, accusing Lynch and his colleagues of financial mismanagement.
In March, HP lodged a claim in London against Lynch and his former colleague Sushovan Hussain for damages of about $5.1 billion over their management of Autonomy.
HP alleged Lynch and Hussain had conducted a systematic and sustained scheme to make Autonomy look like a rapidly growing, pure software company, when in reality it was the opposite.
Lynch has prepared a response to that case, and on Friday said documents showed HP was made aware of practices at Autonomy, for example in a due diligence report prepared by KPMG.
Lynch, commenting on the law suit launched on Thursday, said HP had made many statements that were highly damaging to him and misleading to the stock market, and the company knew, or should have known, these statements were false.
"HP's own documents, which the court will see, make clear that HP was simply incompetent in its operation of Autonomy, and the acquisition was doomed from the very beginning," he said.
Lynch said he hoped the claim would result in HP chief executive Meg Whitman appearing in court.
"This is about dragging them to be accountable, to actually explain the chaos, the mismanagement and the internal warfare, and then the attempt to cover it up," he told Reuters.
HP said Lynch's lawsuit was a "laughable and desperate attempt to divert attention from the $5 billion lawsuit HP has filed and the ongoing criminal investigation".
"HP anxiously looks forward to the day Lynch and Hussain will be forced to answer for their actions in court," a spokeswoman said.