SAN FRANCISCO — Mike Lynch was growing bored in a business meeting in London on Tuesday when his phone buzzed.
A text message from a friend informed him that Hewlett-Packard was taking an $8.8 billion charge. A few minutes later, another message said H.P. was putting most of the blame for the write-down on accounting problems at Autonomy, the company Mr. Lynch co-founded and sold to H.P. last year for $10 billion. There was talk of potentially criminal activities.