Another chapter in the never-ending saga that is Hewlett-Packard's fight with former Autonomy boss Mike Lynch, after Lynch announced today he was launching a $150m lawsuit against the US printer manufacturer in Britain's High Court.
In a statement today, Lynch accused HP of making "many statements that were highly damaging to me and misleading to the stock market".
"Worse - HP knew, or should have known, these statements were false."
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute between the two sides, after HP acquired Lynch's Cambridge-based software company, Autonomy, for $11bn (£7.4bn) in 2011. The acquisition went sour after an argument over Autonomy's accounting practices forced HP to take an $8.8bn writedown on the company.
Since then, the two sides have been trading insults and legal threats. In April, Lynch and former Autonomy finance chief Sushovan Hussain threatened to file a counter-claim after HP filed a lawsuit with the British High Court alleging fraudulent activity by the pair.
Today, Lynch added:
We are finally starting to see what really happened with Autonomy. HP’s own documents, which the court will see, make clear that HP was simply incompetent in its operation of Autonomy, and the acquisition was doomed from the very beginning.Evidence shows that at the time of the acquisition, HP was in chaos. Before going ahead with the acquisition they discussed firing their CEO. They then tried to abort the deal after closing, ultimately did fire the CEO, and generally fought amongst themselves like cats in a sack, causing Autonomy to disintegrate.HP wasn’t misled by us or anyone else - evidence will show they didn’t even read their own due diligence report.Tragically, Autonomy is only one deal among the many that were mishandled by HP, which has written down $9 billion on three separate occasions since 2011. Every acquisition over a billion dollars that HP has made in the last five years has failed.Meg Whitman can explain all this to a judge when we finish this in court once and for all.
Mike Lynch’s lawsuit is a laughable and desperate attempt to divert attention from the $5 billion lawsuit HP has filed and the ongoing criminal investigation. HP anxiously looks forward to the day Lynch and Hussain will be forced to answer for their actions in court.