Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman has attacked executives at British software development subsidiary Autonomy, accusing them of making a “wilful effort to mislead” HP during its $US11.5 billion takeover of the firm last year.
In an interview with business news channel CNBC, Whitman claims HP has uncovered “serious accounting improprieties” and other governance failures at Autonomy since the takeover, with the search engine maker now at the centre of an accountancy scandal.
“We believed there is a wilful effort on the part of certain members of Autonomy management to mislead shareholders when Autonomy was a publicly traded company, and to mislead potential buyers including HP,” Whitman says in the interview.
“After we announced the acquisition there were a number of blogs that came to the fore about potential accounting problems at Autonomy. The former management team ran that to ground and came to the conclusion that nothing was there… Obviously we know different now.”
“Now what we need to do is turn this over to the authorities, seek redress on behalf of HP shareholders to recoup what we can. Then we want to take the Autonomy business and grow it because it does solve a real need in the market place on the behalf of customers.”