HP-Autonomy Merger Suit Should Be Put on Hold: Lawyers

Hewlett-Packard Co. and investors who are suing over the company’s $8.8 billion writedown related to the acquisition of Autonomy Corp. are jointly asking a federal judge to put the case on hold until July 31.

Lawyers for the investors, the company and other defendants said they have agreed a “temporary stay” of the case is warranted in the interest of “judicial economy and efficiency,” according to a filing yesterday in federal court in San Francisco.

The investor who brought the so-called derivative case on behalf of the company, Stanley Morrical, filed a consolidated complaint on May 3. Hewlett-Packard filed a request with the court on May 10 to stay the case until a committee appointed by the company’s board finishes its investigation of potential claims or until the court rules on a motion for dismissal of a related class-action securities suit, whichever comes first.

Hewlett-Packard, the largest personal computer maker, faces other shareholder lawsuits stemming from its Nov. 20 announcement that it was taking an $8.8 billion writedown on the value of British software maker Autonomy, which it agreed to buy for $10.3 billion in 2011. More than $5 billion of the writedown was the result of accounting practices at Autonomy, Hewlett-Packard said. About $200 million of Autonomy’s revenue had been recorded prematurely or improperly, the company’s general counsel said.

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).

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