When H-P announced on November 20, 2012 that it was taking an $8.8 billion charge after it discovered "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" at its Autonomy unit (which H-P acquired in October 2011 for $11.1 billion), there was a great deal of speculation that litigation would quickly follow. The intervening Thanksgiving weekend may have slowed down the filing of the first of the lawsuits, but only a little bit. The first of what will likely be many related lawsuits has now arrived.
On Monday November 26, 2012, plaintiffs' lawyers filed a securities class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California against H-P and certain of its directors and officers. A copy of the plaintiff's complaint can be found here. The plaintiffs' lawyers' November 26, 2012 press release can be found here.
The complaint names as defendants the company itself; Leo Apotheker, who was H-P's CEO until September 2011 and who was CEO at the time the Autonomy deal was agreed upon; Meg Whitman, who became CEO in September 2011, but who had also served on H-P's board at the time the Autonomy deal was agreed to; H-P's CFO, Catherine Lesjak; and the company's Chief Accounting Officer, James T. Murrin. The complaint was filed by an individual H-P shareholder on behalf of a class of investors who purchased H-P stock between August 19, 2011 (the date the Autonomy deal was announced) and November 20, 2012 (the date H-P announced the alleged improprieties at Autonomy).
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Read other items of interest from the world of directors & officers liability, with occasional commentary, at the D&O Diary, a blog by Kevin LaCroix.
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