the bookkeeping and had relied on the opinion of the auditors, securities law experts said.Multiple sources with knowledge of the HP-Autonomy transaction added that the big-name banks on Autonomy's side were brought in days before the final agreement was struck. These sources said the banks were brought on as favors for their long relationships with the companies, in a little-scrutinized Wall Street practice of crediting -- and paying – investment banks that actually have little do with the deal.
LAWSUITS, REPUTATIONS AT STAKE
Plaintiffs lawyers said they were taking calls from investors about HP on Tuesday. Darren Robbins, a San Diego-based plaintiff lawyer who represents shareholders, said the tech icon appears to have spent billions on a shoddy company without undertaking the proper due diligence, and thus misrepresented its finances to investors."I think they have serious troubles," he said.But plaintiff lawyers may have difficulty bringing so-called derivative lawsuits against professional services firms, said Brian Quinn, an M&A professor at Boston College Law School. In those cases, plaintiff lawyers can sue third parties, such as auditors, on behalf of HP -- but they must convince a judge that HP's board is unfit to pursue those claims itself. In this
situation, though, HP's board disclosed the alleged fraud itself, Quinn said.Even if the bankers and lawyers escape any legal problems, they could suffer a reputational hit. The scrutiny could be particularly unwelcome for Perella Weinberg: the firm advised
Japanese camera maker Olympus' acquisition of British Gyrus -- a transaction that prompted investigations in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan into fees and payments made by Olympus.Olympus had hired Perella to execute the transaction, which according to Thomson Reuters M&A database resulted in record
bankers' fee of $687 million. Perella was not implicated in the matter.Meanwhile, the most controversial banker involved in the HP-Autonomy deal, Frank Quattrone of Qatalyst, represented Autonomy and played a key role in getting HP to pay a high
price.A star investment banker in the 1990s, Quattrone had worked at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, and helped arrange some of the biggest tech initial public offerings of the era, including Amazon.com Inc