HP hit with civil securities lawsuit over Autonomy deal

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:06pm EST

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels, January 12, 2010. The management of HP announced 324 jobs cut at its Belgian office because of poor sales resulting from the global financial crisis according to local media. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels, January 12, 2010. The management of HP announced 324 jobs cut at its Belgian office because of poor sales resulting from the global financial crisis according to local media.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Roge

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co was sued on Monday by an investor who claimed the company knew statements about its Autonomy acquisition were misleading and led the stock to fall, according to lawyers representing the plaintiff.

The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in a San Francisco federal court.

HP dropped a bombshell last Tuesday with an $8.8 billion write-down on its acquisition of British software firm Autonomy, saying the company inflated sales with improper accounting. Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch has denied any wrongdoing.

HP bought Autonomy for a hefty $11.1 billion last year. HP has said it alerted regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

The lawsuit, one of the first to be filed by investors on the Autonomy mess, said HP hid the fact it gained control of Autonomy based on financial statements that could not be relied upon. It also said that HP had not revealed to investors that it tried to undo the Autonomy agreement before it closed because of the accounting issues.

(Reporting By Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andre Grenon)

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