The US Department of No Justice, part II

Tomorrow's Business

The US Department of No Justice, part II

“Should the fall-out from the takeover of a UK company, conducted under UK takeover rules, really end up in a US court?”, writes the typically excellent Nils Pratley in today’s Guardian.

He’s in agreement with our note yesterday, supporting Mike Lynch in his battle with Hewlett-Packard. The US wants Lynch extradited to face criminal charges.

As Pratley writes: “If the roles were reversed, does anyone seriously think the UK would be able to summon a high-profile US executive in these circumstances?”

There’s a few interesting things here. For one, Lynch has most hacks on his side, even though he is a, erm, prickly character, which just shows how fair minded we can be.

Second, HP seems to have no care for its image, at least in the UK. It is not considering the PR fallout from the legal battle.

It is seemingly unconcerned that other businessmen must be looking on and making mental notes not to trade with Hewlett Packard.

A flak writes of Lynch’s sale of Autonomy: “He had an obligation to his shareholders to maximise their return. What was he going to do, invite bids saying the company is worthless? As someone once said, when the US-owned Piper Alpha went down killing all those people, the UK looked to boost safety standards. When BP trips up in the Gulf, it’s the end of the world and they make a movie. I love America but was it Auberon Waugh who said, never do business there.”

Quite.

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