HP Switches to Morrison Foerster Lawyers in Autonomy Suit

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) changed its lawyers in cases brought by investors who are suing over the company’s $8.8 billion writedown related to the acquisition of Autonomy Corp.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP lawyer Robert E. Gooding Jr. and his team have been replaced by Morrison & Foerster LLP’s Darryl P. Rains and Judson E. Lobdell, according to a filing yesterday in federal court in San Francisco.

Hewlett-Packard, the largest personal computer maker, faces shareholder lawsuits stemming from its Nov. 20 announcement that it was taking a multibillion-dollar writedown on the value of British software maker Autonomy, which it agreed to buy for $10.3 billion in 2011.

Rains represented Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) in shareholder lawsuits over losses in its YieldPlus Fund. San Francisco partner Lobdell represented Patricia Dunn, former chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard, in a criminal case that was dismissed in 2007 and in related civil litigation.

Morgan Lewis partner Leslie Caldwell said by phone she will continue to serve as Hewlett-Packard’s liaison to federal prosecutors investigating whether Autonomy employees lied about the company’s performance.

Accounting Practices

More than $5 billion of the writedown was the result of accounting practices at Autonomy, Hewlett-Packard said in November. About $200 million of Autonomy’s revenue had been recorded prematurely or improperly, the company’s general counsel said.

Michael Thacker, a spokesman for Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard, declined to comment on the replacement of the investor litigation lawyers on behalf of the company and its general counsel’s office.

Jennifer Costa, a spokeswoman for Morgan Lewis, declined to comment on the firm’s replacement.

Rains declined to comment. Lobdell was out of the country and couldn’t immediately be reached. Amy Merriweather, a spokeswoman for Morrison & Foerster, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Morgan Lewis, along with Slaughter and May, advised Autonomy on the original acquisition by Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard’s legal advisers on the deal included DLA Piper LLP; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

The securities class action case is In Re HP Securities Litigation, 12-cv-5980, and the derivative case is Riccardi v. Lynch, 12-cv-06003, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Blumberg in San Francisco at pblumberg1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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