Lynch in HP slight as directors survive vote

MIKE Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, yesterday launched a fresh slight against the British software firm’s owners Hewlett Packard, ahead of an annual meeting in which directors barely survived shareholder votes.

Lynch, who is locked in a war of words with HP chief executive Meg Whitman over an accounting scandal related to the US technology giant’s $11bn (£7.3bn) acquisition of Autonomy in 2011, said he “refused to be a scapegoat for HP’s own failings”.

In an open letter to HP shareholders, Lynch raised a number of questions related to allegations that former Autonomy management inflated the value of its business ahead of its sale. HP took an $8.8bn writedown related to the deal in November.

Last night, HP’s chairman Ray Lane and two directors John Hammergren and Ken Thompson, squeezed through the annual meeting’s vote on their re-election. The three received between 54 and 59 per cent of votes in their favour.

Lynch, who pocketed £500m from the sale, has vehemently denied the allegations. Yesterday he challenged HP to justify how it arrived at the writedown figure and to explain the nature of the allegations.

“HP has acted in an aggressive and unusual manner throughout this episode, making highly damaging public accusations without providing any supporting evidence.” Lynch wrote.