Summary: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) stands out as the so-called poster child for corporate investigations gone "rogue," as described in testimony by HP CEO Mark Hurd. Former HP Chairman Patricia Dunn declared that the tactics used at HP, "may ... be quite common ... at companies around the country." Sarbanes-Oxley is cited as the reason for an increase in internal corporate investigations. Experts comment that even though companies themselves might not be using aggressive investigation methods, the investigators they hire often use them. What's even more worrisome is that investigators likely have more than one client.
Related links: Full article • Felony Charges Filed in HP Investigation Scandal • H-P's He Said, She Said: House Committee Releases Full Dunn and Hurd Testimony • H-P: Of Red Flags and Black Holes • Analysts Rallying Around H-P, Hurd • Conference call transcript: HP Q3 2006
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Aside from the universe of technology and large-cap stocks in the U.S. in which there could be internal investigations underway using tactics similar to those in HP's, consider the implications for consumer/personal data-related companies such as Acxiom (ACXM), ChoicePoint (CPS), Equifax (EFX), Fair Isaac (FIC), First Advantage (FADV) and infoUSA (IUSA).
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