HP Tries to Bar Ex-Autonomy CFO From Fighting Investor Pact

Hewlett-Packard Co. asked a U.S. judge to allow a shareholder settlement over the bungled buyout of Autonomy Corp. to move forward, assailing an attempt by a former officer of the acquired company to derail the deal.

Former Autonomy Chief Financial Officer Sushovan Hussain opposes the accord, in which Hewlett-Packard’s investors agreed to join the company in pursuing litigation against ex-Autonomy managers such as him and ex-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lynch.

Hewlett-Packard has said Hussain and Lynch didn’t disclose the software maker’s true financial health before the 2011 acquisition. The men rejected the contention, saying the $8.8 billion writedown the Palo Alto, California-based company took on the deal was because it mismanaged Autonomy. Investors who sued Hewlett-Packard officers and directors agreed instead to hold Hussain and Lynch accountable, according to court papers. Hussain has sought to intervene in the agreement.

“Hussain has no interest in protecting HP or its shareholders,” Hewlett-Packard said in a filing yesterday in San Francisco federal court, claiming he is seeking to gain access to company files given investigators in the U.S. and U.K.

Hewlett-Packard’s filing contains “out of context information, twisted to support false assumptions,” ex-Autonomy managers said in an e-mailed statement. “There is no fraud.”

Hussain Filing

The shareholder settlement has “fatal flaws” which Hewlett-Packard hasn’t addressed, including governance reforms that investors haven’t been able to review, and language releasing executives from claims, Hussain said in court papers.

Hussain shouldn’t be allowed to intervene in the case because he hasn’t proven he’s a shareholder, and has a conflict of interest because he’s under investigation, Hewlett-Packard said in its filing.

“The proposed settlement provides valuable benefits to HP shareholders and allows the company to move forward with its claims against the true perpetrators of the fraud,” Hewlett-Packard said today in an e-mailed statement.

The case is In Re HP Derivative Litigation, 12-06003, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).