HP Monday announced a settlement with the Department of Justice related to the company's GSA Multiple Awards Schedule and a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas in 2007.
Exact figures of the settlement were not revealed, however, HP admitted in a statement that the deal would negatively affect the company's third quarter (fiscal year 2010) earnings by 2 cents per share. Taking this fact into consideration, the Financial Times estimates the settlement figure to be somewhere in the region of $47 million.
FT reports that the suit accused HP of paying a list of systems integrators "influencer fees" amounting to millions of dollars if they successfully put HP products forward in government deals. According to the suit, these integrators were obligated to act in the government's best interests but did not. HP is also said to have made 'New Business Opportunity' payments, which were not meant to be passed on to the government agency. The suit also alleges that the same products could have been obtained with volume pricing deals that would have reduced the payments.
Though settlements are often seen or perceived as an admission of guilt, HP was quick to assure the press that this was not the case today:
"HP denies engaging in any illegal conduct in connection with these matters," the company said in a press release. "HP has agreed to a settlement with the Department of Justice, without any admission of wrongdoing, in order to resolve the allegations in full."
HP did not provide updated guidance for either its third fiscal quarter in the statement.
Read more on the suit on the Financial Times.
[Last updated @ 23:00 PST on 03/08/2010)