HP says government investigating troubled Autonomy unit

| Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Autonomy, the British business software company now owned by Hewlett-Packard Co., is facing a Justice Department investigation over improper accounting under previous management, according to HP.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, HP said Justice officials informed the company on Nov. 21 that they were opening an investigation into the allegations, which HP said in November that it had uncovered after a senior Autonomy executive came forward.

HP also reiterated that it provided information to the SEC and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office related to “accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy.” Justice officials had no comment.

HP, which bought Autonomy for $10 billion in 2011, took an $8.8 billion charge to reflect that the U.K. company isn't worth what it paid. HP says about $5 billion of that charge stemmed from improper accounting.

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