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HP takes huge hit on 'accounting improprieties'

(DEALBOOK.NYTIMES) — Hewlett-Packard said on Tuesday that it had taken an $8.8 billion accounting charge, after discovering “serious accounting improprieties” and “outright misrepresentations” at Autonomy, a British software maker that it bought for $10 billion last year.

It is a major setback for H.P., which has been struggling to turn around its operations and remake its business.

The charge essentially wiped out its profit. In the latest quarter, H.P. reported a net loss of $6.9 billion, compared with a $200 million profit in the period a year earlier. The company said the improprieties and misrepresentations took place just before the acquisition, and accounted for the majority of the charges in the quarter, more than $5 billion.