NEW YORK - Hewlett-Packard Co. said on Tuesday that it's the victim of a multi-billion dollar fraud at the hands of a British company it bought last year that lied about its finances.
HP CEO Meg Whitman said executives at Autonomy Corporation PLC "willfully" boosted the company's figures through various accounting tricks, which convinced HP to pay $9.7 billion for the company in October 2011.
Autonomy's former CEO said HP's allegations are false.
HP is now taking an $8.8 billion charge to align Autonomy's purchase price with what HP now says is its real value. More than $5 billion of that charge is due to false accounting, HP said.
The revelation is another blow for HP, which is struggling to reinvent itself as PC and printer sales shrink. The company's stock hit a 10-year low in morning trading.