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HP buyout of Autonomy under investigation by UK Serious Fraud Office

American giant Hewlett Packard (HP) has filed a report stating that the UK’s SFO (Serious Fraud Office) has launched an investigation into their buyout of UK company Autonomy. This is the latest office to investigate the buyout, joining the UK accounting regulator and US Dept of Justice in questioning the firm.

Autonomy Corporation, founded in Cambridge in 1996, is a research based software company, working to help organisations on a global scale understand different meanings in information and data. With their customer base including Adobe, EMC and IBM Global Services, Autonomy sold to HP in 2011 for a reported $10bn (£6.7bn), although last year HP wrote off $5bn under claims that the firm had inflated its value at the time of sale.

HP is reported to be working alongside all investigators into the sale and has provided information to all parties alleging to accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures prior to and in connection with the 2011 acquisition

A spokesperson for the SFO said, "allegations have been made to the SFO about the circumstances of the sale in 2011 of Autonomy to Hewlett Packard".

"The director of the Serious Fraud Office has decided to open an investigation into those allegations, with a view to using its powers of investigation to allow them to be tested."

He pointed out that, "the opening of a criminal investigation does not mean that individuals are guilty of a crime or indeed that a crime has been committed".

Conflict of interest reports have been noted in connection with the SFO possibly making use of an Autonomy built document management tool, Introspect; these claims have been addressed by the company and a statement released this effect, stating that steps are being taken to ensure against this.


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