Cambridge software firm under fire

Bosses at computer giant HP took a £5.5bn hit after accusing former staff at a Cambridge software company it bought last year of misleading investors.

Former managers deny Hewlett-Packard allegations

A software company in Cambridge accused of lying about its finances to Hewlett-Packard - the American company which bought it for more than £7bn last year - has denied the claims.

HP has alleged former members of Autonomy's management misled potential buyers over the company's real value.

An inquiry was launched after a whistleblower at Autonomy came forward with the allegations, which have been denied by the former managers. The case has now been referred to the Serious Fraud Office.

Hewlett-Packard still committed to Autonomy

Hewlett-Packard says it remains committed to Autonomy despite claims it had been mislead by former staff at the Cambridge software firm.

In a statement, HP said it was "extremely disappointed" by the findings of its internal investigation.

It added actions of former staff:

appear to have been a wilful effort to mislead investors and potential buyers, and severely impacted HP management's ability to fairly value Autonomy at the time of the deal

We remain 100% committed to Autonomy and its industry-leading technology.

– Hewlett-Packard statement

After the PwC investigation, HP now believes that Autonomy was "substantially overvalued" at the time of its acquisition due to the mis-statement of Autonomy's financial performance.

HP has referred the matter to the Serious Fraud Office, US Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division and is preparing to seek compensation against various parties.

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Computer giant hits out at Cambridge software company

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard
Computer giant Hewlett-Packard Credit: PA

Bosses at computer giant Hewlett-Packard took a £5.5bn hit after accusing former staff at a Cambridge software company it bought last year of misleading investors.

HP bought Autonomy in a £7.1 billion deal that saw its founder Dr Mike Lynch pocket around £500 million.

The American firm alleges that former members of Autonomy's management fiddled accounts in a bid to "mislead investors and potential buyers" and has referred the matter to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).