UK closes two-year-probe into HP purchase of Autonomy

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has closed a two-year-old probe into alleged accounting issues related to Hewlett-Packard Co.’s $11-billion purchase of the British software company Autonomy in 2011.

The SFO said there wasn’t enough evidence to make a conviction of the software firm’s former executives.

HP alleged “some former members of Autonomy’s management team used accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures”, thereby inflating the company’s worth by over $5 billion.

The SFO said: “In respect of some aspects of the allegations, the SFO has concluded that, on the information available to it, there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”

Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy and CEO of the company when it was sold, said:

“Let’s remember, HP made allegations of a $5 billion fraud, and presented the case in public as a slam dunk,”

“HP now faces serious questions of its own about its conduct in this case and the false statements it has made.”

HP said it remained “committed to holding the architects of the Autonomy fraud accountable”.

“As the SFO made clear, the U.S. authorities are continuing their investigation and we continue to co-operate with that investigation,” a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

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