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Darktrace distances itself from HP-Autonomy legal row

By Josh White

Date: Thursday 19 May 2022

Darktrace distances itself from HP-Autonomy legal row

(Sharecast News) - Cybersecurity firm Darktrace responded to reports on Thursday that one of its executives had been linked to the legal row surrounding Autonomy's sale to Hewlett Packard.
According to the Telegraph, Justice Robert Hildyard - in a judgement handed down on Tuesday - found that Autonomy's central management had pulled on accounting "levers" to misrepresent how well the business was fairing ahead of its 2011 sale to the US tech firm.

Nicole Eagan, then Autonomy's chief marketing officer, was named as "part of a clique responsible with the defendants of the operation of the impugned levels".

After leaving Autonomy, Eagan set up Darktrace with a number of other tech experts and became co-chief executive alongside fellow founder and current head Poppy Gustafsson.

Eagan, currently Darktrace's chief strategy officer and AI officer, remained in the role until mid 2020.

"Neither Darktrace nor any of its acting executives was a party to the civil proceedings," the company said on Thursday.

"Neither Darktrace nor its acting executives are the target of any investigation.

"We see no link between Darktrace and the civil action against Dr Mike Lynch by Hewlett Packard or its subsidiaries.

"There has been no change to the prospects or trading of the business since our last update."

HP paid $11.7bn for Autonomy only to write down the value of the business by $8.8bn a year later.

It accused founder Mike Lynch, who was until earlier this year an advisor to Darktrace, of over-inflating the firm's value, and launched a civil case against him.

Lynch has denied all claims against him.

US prosecutors are seeking to extradite Lynch to face criminal charges, with Justice Hildyard ruling earlier this year that HP's claims of fraud had "substantially succeeded".

The judgement handed down on Tuesday laid out the reasoning behind the ruling.

A HP spokesperson told the Telegraph on Wednesday that the firm was "pleased" with the ruling, while lawyers for Lynch, who is fighting the extradition request, said he was "naturally disappointed" and intended to appeal.

At 0924 BST, shares in Darktrace were down 0.54% at 321.45p.

Reporting by Josh White at Sharecast.com. Additional reporting by Abigail Townsend.

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