Mike Lynch Acquitted of All Fraud Charges in $11 Billion HP-Autonomy Deal Case

Alongside him, former Autonomy finance executive Stephen Chamberlain was also acquitted of the same charges.

In a significant legal victory, Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, was cleared of all fraud charges by a San Francisco jury on Thursday.

This verdict marks a pivotal moment for Lynch, who has faced continuous legal challenges following the contentious $11 billion sale of his company to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011.

Lynch was facing 15 separate charges, including one count of conspiracy and 14 counts of wire fraud, each linked to distinct transactions or communications.

Alongside him, former Autonomy finance executive Stephen Chamberlain was also acquitted of the same charges.

The trial, which extended over three months, centered on allegations that Lynch and Chamberlain artificially inflated Autonomy’s revenue figures.

This case is the latest development in a series of legal proceedings that ensued after HP’s acquisition of Autonomy, once the largest British tech deal, soured dramatically.

HP had to write down $8.8 billion related to Autonomy’s valuation just a year after the acquisition.

“I am elated with today’s verdict,” said Lynch, who in his career has been compared to tech giants like Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

He expressed his desire to return to the UK and focus on his family and innovation in his field.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, through spokesperson Abraham Simmons, acknowledged the jury’s decision, stating, “We acknowledge and respect the verdict.”

During the trial, the jury heard from over 30 government witnesses, including Leo Apotheker, former HP CEO who was ousted shortly after the Autonomy deal.

Lynch himself testified, denying any misconduct and attributing the integration failures to HP’s mishandling.

The defense argued that HP was so desperate to beat competitors to the Autonomy acquisition that it neglected proper due diligence.

Lynch, who has a background in technology from Cambridge University, claimed he left the financial and accounting decisions to Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy’s then-CFO.

Hussain was convicted in 2018 related to the HP deal and has since served a five-year sentence, released from U.S. prison in January.

Lynch’s journey from Cambridge research to leading Autonomy, a top British software firm and FTSE 100 member, has been marked by high praise and advisory roles to the British government on technology.

Despite winning a major civil lawsuit against Lynch and Hussain in London in 2022, HP is still pursuing $4 billion in damages, a decision on which is pending.