Hewlett-Packard: A billion-dollar charge

Hewlett-Packard took a $8.8 billion writedown after accusing Autonomy, the British software maker it bought last year, of falsifying finances. More than $5 billion of the charge is due to accounting problems disclosed by a senior executive at Autonomy. HP bought the software company for $10.3 billion to diversify away from PCs and printers. Autonomy allegedly misrepresented its gross profit margin and falsely created or miscategorized $200 million-plus in revenue over a two-year period starting in 2009, HP said. Autonomy’s former top management team denies the claims.

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