Hewlett-Packard Co stunned Wall Street by alleging a massive accounting scandal at its British software unit Autonomy and taking an $8.8 billion writedown, the latest in a string of reversals that renewed questions about the competence of the storied company’s board and senior managers.
HP said on Tuesday it discovered "serious accounting improprieties" and "a willful effort by Autonomy to mislead shareholders," after a whistleblower came forward following the May ouster of former Autonomy Chief Executive Mike Lynch.
The news sent the company's shares plunging 12 percent to a 10-year low of $11.71. HP, which for decades was synonymous with technical excellence and innovation as one of the bedrock companies of Silicon Valley, now has a market value of roughly $20 billion, down from $155 billion in April of 2000.
CEO Meg Whitman took the helm at HP a little over a year ago when her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, was fired after less than a year on the job. Apotheker's one big strategic
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