Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has launched a scathing tirade against HP as he announces plans to sue the firm for $150m (£99m) for its "public smear campaign" against him.
Lynch filed a lawsuit against HP in the UK High Court yesterday, seeking damages of more than $150m. He claims HP has made "highly damaging" false and negligent statements about him over the past three years as part of a "public smear campaign".
HP snapped up Autonomy in 2011 in a now-infamous acquisition. The former was forced to swallow a significant writedown on the value of Autonomy, which led to a fierce war of words between former Autonomy bosses and HP amid a legal battle. The latest lawsuit filed by Lynch is separate.
Lynch said the legal process will reveal what he claims is the truth about the deal.
"We are finally starting to see what really happened with Autonomy," he said. "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."
Earlier this week, amid the separate legal process going on between HP and Autonomy, some internal HP emails were made public and distributed by representatives of former Autonomy management.
One email reveals that its former chairman Ray Lane asked HP's then-CEO Léo Apotheker if there was any way HP could squash the acquisition before it was set in stone. The email was sent after the acquisition plans were made public and just a month before it was completed. Lane said he was "haunted" by elements of the deal.
Lynch said "HP was in chaos" at the time it took over Autonomy.
"Before going ahead with the acquisition they discussed firing their CEO," he claimed. "They then tried to abort the deal after closing, ultimately did fire the CEO, and generally fought among 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 $9bn on three separate occasions since 2011. Every acquisition over $1bn 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."
In a statement, HP said:
"Mike Lynch's lawsuit is a laughable and desperate attempt to divert attention from the $5bn lawsuit HP has filed and the ongoing criminal investigation. HP anxiously looks forward to the day Lynch and Hussain [Sushovan Hussain, former Autonomy chief financial officer] will be forced to answer for their actions in court."
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