Barclays dragged into HP row with UK tech firm Autonomy

Tim Wallace
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BARCLAYS was conflicted when it gave advice to HP over its ill-fated acquisition of UK software firm Autonomy, according to court documents filed by shareholders who say HP failed to properly check the firm’s finances.

HP paid $11bn (£7.1bn) for Autonomy in 2011, but has since claimed it was misled as to the condition of the company.

The US group took an $8.8bn writedown in November blaming misrepresentations at the British business for its over-valuation at the time of the acquisition.

Autonomy’s founder Mike Lynch vigorously denies the claims he over-inflated the figures and instead says HP mismanaged the firm after the acquisition.

Shareholders claim HP’s bosses knew of problems at the target firm but failed to act. And they also say Barclays was also in part to blame.

“HP’s financial advisor, Barclays, was conflicted in advising the board while simultaneously underwriting the financing of the deal,” the shareholders’ claim.

Nobody from Barclays was available to comment.