HP Files Lawsuit Against Taiwanese LCD Manufacturers

on Dec 4, 2012
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**Price-Fixing Lawsuit**

On 4 December the Financial Times reported that Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), the largest American PC-maker, is taking legal action against two Taiwanese flat screen-manufacturers. HP is suing Tatung Company of America and Chunghwa Picture Tubes for damages of over $1 billion (£621 million), accusing the companies of purposefully setting higher prices.

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In a filling to the federal court in San Francisco HP explains that the two Taiwanese manufacturers and other LCD makers conspired to set prices and limit output for panels between the years 1998 and 2006. As a result of a number of investigations led by US and EU authorities, many Asian companies had to settle with governments and other litigants, incurring heavy fines. LG Display, Sharp and Chunghwa all pleaded guilty following a US Justice Department criminal investigation of LCD price fixing and had to pay $585 million (£363 million) in penalties.

**New Software from Autonomy Unit**
This week HP also announced it will be releasing a new data analyses tool developed by its Autonomy unit, which took an $8.8 billion (£5.47 billion) writedown allegedly due to financial misreporting.
!m[PC Maker Seeks Damage Control Following $8.8 Billion Autonomy Writedown](/uploads/story/953/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)The new software was revealed at a customer conference in Frankfurt and is meant to help companies comply with local and federal regulations. According to news agency Bloomberg, Meg Whitman, chief executive of HP, will discuss the newest products offered by the company in an address today at the Discover conference. Dave Donatelli, head of HP’s enterprise computing group, and Todd Bradley, personal computer and printing head, are also expected to give talks at the conference.

HP will be launching an update on another tool called Vertica Analytics Platform, which has been developed to analyse large quantities of data from companies’ on-site computer programs and the Web.
**HP On the Receiving End in Court**
On Tuesday 27 November a lawsuit filed by Phillip Ricciardi, an HP shareholder since 2007, named Big Four audit firms KPMG and Deloitte, HP’s board of directors, former executives and officers as defendants, alleging they missed numerous red flags about Autonomy’s true value.

The lawsuit charges that HP’s failure to perform adequate and timely due diligence cost the company and its shareholders billions of dollars in losses. In a statement KPMG denied having been engaged in any audit work related to Autonomy. Deloitte said it was not responsible for due diligence on Autonomy’s acquisition and denied having any knowledge of accounting misrepresentations or improprieties in Autonomy’s financial statements.
Meanwhile Autonomy’s founder Mike Lynch launched a new website dedicated to provide “relevant information pertaining to the accusations made by Hewlett Packard (HP) on 20 November 2012 of financial impropriety at Autonomy.” In an open letter sent on 27 November, Mike Lynch accused HP’s board of mismanagement, which led to the decline of the Autonomy unit and the subsequent massive writedown.
“While Dr. Lynch is eager for a debate, we believe the legal process is the correct method in which to bring out the facts and take action on behalf of our shareholders,” responded HP in November and remained silent on the matter ever since.
The company’s stock price closed in the red on Monday at $12.87 and lost an additional 0.54 percent in afterhours trading.

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