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Mike Lynch Acquitted of Fraud in $11 Billion Hewlett-Packard Deal

Mike Lynch Acquitted of Fraud in $11 Billion Hewlett-Packard Deal

British tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch was acquitted of fraud by a jury in San Francisco, a significant victory for the founder of Autonomy, whose 2011 sale to Hewlett-Packard (HP) for $11 billion led to prolonged legal battles. Lynch faced 15 charges, including conspiracy and wire fraud, all of which were dismissed.

Stephen Chamberlain, a former Autonomy finance executive, was also acquitted of similar charges. The trial, which lasted three months, focused on accusations that Lynch and Chamberlain inflated Autonomy’s revenue ahead of the sale. This acquisition, once a highlight in British tech, soon turned sour with HP writing down Autonomy’s value by $8.8 billion within a year.

“I am elated with today’s verdict,” Lynch stated. “I am looking forward to returning to the UK and getting back to what I love most: my family and innovating in my field.”

Abraham Simmons, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, acknowledged the verdict, showing respect for the jury’s decision.

Lynch, who studied at Cambridge University, built Autonomy into Britain’s leading software company. The trial saw over 30 government witnesses, including former HP CEO Leo Apotheker. Lynch defended himself, asserting that HP mishandled the integration of the two companies. His legal team argued that HP rushed the due diligence process due to eagerness to outpace competitors.

During the trial, Lynch claimed he focused on technology while financial decisions were managed by Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy’s former CFO, who was convicted separately in 2018. Lynch’s defense painted him as a tech visionary, contrasting the prosecution’s portrayal of him as a manipulative executive.

The acquittal comes after Lynch fought extradition from the UK and navigated a complex legal landscape. This ruling is another setback for HP, which blamed Lynch for misleading them and resulting in significant financial losses.

Following the verdict, Lynch expressed his joy and gratitude to the jury. He emphasized his desire to return to his work and family in the UK. Lynch’s acquittal is a notable moment in his career, which saw him once compared to tech giants like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Lynch’s trial also saw the acquittal of Chamberlain, highlighting the jury’s skepticism of the prosecution’s narrative of financial manipulation. The verdict underscores the complexities of corporate acquisitions and the challenges in attributing blame for business failures.

In the aftermath, Lynch’s focus remains on innovation and family, closing a turbulent chapter in his professional journey.

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