HP Autonomy Saga Drags on With London Trial Scheduled for 2018

  • HP suit against Autonomy's Mike Lynch and Sushovan Hussain
  • HP claims it overpaid when it bought Autonomy for $10 billion

The long-running saga between Hewlett-Packard Co. and Autonomy over their $10 billion takeover is set to drag on at least two more years, after lawyers agreed to fight a $5.1 billion-dispute in a London court in 2018.

Lawyers for Hewlett-Packard and two former Autonomy executives -- co-founder Michael Lynch and chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain -- appeared in court Thursday to set out their case after both sides filed lawsuits last year. Hewlett-Packard is suing the pair for $5.1 billion alleging they misrepresented the financial health of Autonomy before the takeover. Lynch filed a $160 million countersuit in October claiming Hewlett-Packard has ruined his reputation.

Breaking down its suit for the first time, Hewlett-Packard’s lawyers said the company is seeking $4.58 billion for the amount it overpaid for the deal and a further $420 million for shares it bought from the men at the time of the takeover. Hewlett-Packard paid Lynch 517 million pounds ($730 million) for his shares and Hussain 10 million pounds. Another $60 million is claimed in relation to other subsidiaries of Autonomy.

Executives of the two companies have been at odds since 2012, when Hewlett-Packard wrote down $8.8 billion connected to the acquisition, claiming more than $5 billion was the result of accounting improprieties by Autonomy. Lynch said the writedown was due to Hewlett-Packard’s own mismanagement of the deal, with executives who had masterminded it pushed out and Autonomy employees met with hostility and roadblocks that hurt the company’s performance.

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office dropped its probe into the takeover in January 2015 after finding “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”

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