UK regulators investigating HP’s Autonomy acquisition

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened an investigation into the alleged irregularities of Hewlett-Packard's acquisition of the UK-based enterprise software firm Autonomy.

HP acquired Autonomy in August 2011 for over $10.2 billion (£6.4 billion), which was reportedly 11 times higher than the annual earning of the British software company company.

The Palo Alto, California-based tech giant last year charged Autonomy managers with misquoting its annual performance before the deal was inked. The write-down, which cost HP a whopping $8.8 billion (£5.5 billion), is the result of what the company described as "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy Corporation PLC."

The SFO had notified HP about the investigation on 6 February and follows the lead of the US Justice Department, which is already investigating the controversial deal.

"As a result of the findings of an ongoing investigation, HP has provided information to the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC related to the accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy that occurred prior to and in connection with HP's acquisition," HP said.

Mike Lynch, the founder and former CEO of Autonomy, has dismissed the allegations of any wrongdoing on his part and has reportedly hired Steptoe & Johnson's Reid Weingarten as his defence lawyer. Weingarten is known for having represented Richard Causey, Enron executive and renowned filmmaker Roman Polanski.

Follow the link for more on the drama surrounding HP's Autonomy acquisition.