HP seems to have gotten through the pretexting scandal unscathed — paying $14.5 million to settle a civil claim revolving around the issue. HP shares have actually gained around 9 percent since the probe was disclosed in a regulatory filing, but fell 28 cents to $39.86 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
"It looks like they got off pretty easy, and that this is actually going to be a good thing for HP," said Roger Kay, who follows the company as president of market research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates. "It looks like they’re in control of their destiny and have put at least some of this behind them."
The vast majority of the settlement — $13.5 million — will fund state and local investigations into privacy rights and intellectual property violations, according to the lawsuit and settlement filed simultaneously in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Apparently HP has been extremely cooperative and this issue seems to be largely behind the company.
HP CEO Mark Hurd said in a statement that the company is "committed to ensuring that HP regains its standing as a global leader in corporate ethics and responsibility." The agreement did not include a finding of liability against HP.
From my perspective the low fine amount seems like a minimal deterrent against this sort of behavior in the future. We may be seeing more pretexting cases soon.