Holstona Notre Dame graduate and football fan who is no doubt enjoying his alma mater's rise to the top of the collegiate rankswon accolades at HP after joining the company in the wake of its pretexting scandal in 2007. The embarrassing episode, which involved spying on board members and journalists, allowed Holston to shake up HP's in-house legal department with some much-needed reforms by cutting costs and bringing on former Morgan, Lewis & Bockius colleague John Schultz, according to The Recorder.
Holston, who was credited with crafting a policy whereby HP would hire and train new in-house attorneys fresh out of law school, was named last month to the board of the Ethics Resource Center in Arlington, Virginia. He declined to comment on the HP/Autonomy matter through a Merck spokesman.
David Healy, cochair of the M&A practice at Fenwick & West, was named as HP's interim general counsel following Holston's departure. Healy declined to comment on HP's Autonomy-related legal issues when reached by The Am Law Daily.
When HP settled on Holston's full-time successor in April, the company installed Schultz as its new in-house legal chief. Like Holston, Schultz was a partner at Morgan Lewis, who joined HP in September 2008 after serving as chief outside counsel to the company during the pretexting probe.
HP said in a statement that Schultz conducted the company's internal investigation of Autonomy's finances along with global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Schultz did not respond to a request for comment on whether HP has retained outside counsel in connection with its allegations against Autonomy. Two HP spokesmen also did not respond to similar requests for comment. (HP spokesman Michael Thacker declined to comment to LTN about the company's external advisers.)
In completing the Autonomy acquisition, Holston led an in-house team that also included deputy general counsel Paul Porrini and associate general counsel David Ritenour and Rick Arnold. None responded to requests for comment on the deal. Porrini left HP in August to become general counsel and secretary of Redwood City, Californiabased video advertising company YuMe.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher M&A partners Dennis Friedman, James Moloney, and Jeffery Roberts served as primary deal counsel to HP on its acquisition of Autonomy. None of the three responded to requests for comment and a spokeswoman for Gibson Dunn, which advised HP on its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm and $1.5 billion purchase of ArcSight in 2010, referred The Am Law Daily's inquiry to HP.
Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which served as European antitrust counsel and due diligence counsel to HP, declined to comment about its role on the transaction.
Drinker Biddle & Reatha firm where both Holston and Schultz worked before joining Morgan Lewis in 2005served as special antitrust counsel to HP on the Autonomy deal. A Drinker Biddle spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Holston helped recruit former Drinker Biddle partner Gregg Melinson to HP last year to become the company's deputy general counsel and vice president for global government affairs, according to Corporate Counsel.)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom corporate partners Peter Atkins and Kenton King, the latter of whom serves as head of the firm's Palo Alto office and coheads its global corporate transactions practice, did not respond to requests for comment about their roles advising HP's board of directors on the Autonomy acquisition. Skadden also provided tax counsel to the company on the deal.