HP Gets Autonomy As Part Of Plan To Provide Information Management Services


Hewlett-Packard on Monday followed through on a key initiative of ex-President and CEO Leo Apotheker by acquiring control of Autonomy and making HP a leading vendor in the enterprise information management market.

HP said that holders of more than 87 percent of Autonomy's shares have agreed to sell them to HP for 25.5 British pounds, or $39.72, per share. HP first unveiled its $10.3 billion plan to acquire Autonomy in mid-August.

Autonomy, based in Cambridge, U.K., markets database search, information governance, information discovery, records management, archiving and Web content management software.

Autonomy's product portfolio has made it a major player in the market for cloud-based data management services. The company reported sales of $870 million for fiscal 2010 ended Dec. 31, up 18 percent from $740 million in fiscal 2009.

The acquisition of Autonomy was led by Apotheker as part of sweeping changes he wanted to make at HP to improve the company's focus on high-margin enterprise business. Other changes pushed by Apotheker included considering strategic alternatives for its high-revenue, low-margin PC business such as spinning it out as a separate entity or selling it outright. HP plans to decide what it will do with the PC business by year-end.

Ray Lane, executive chairman of HP, last month told an audience of CIOs at the InformationWeek 500 conference that HP hopes to use Autonomy to help turn HP into a provider of information management services.

Lane said at the time that HP's vision is to be a service company with innovative technology on the back end -- servers, storage, networking -- to provide information management.

"We need a larger software portfolio to do that. The big opportunity is with unstructured information: search, real-time analytics, streaming information, and understand the information that's flowing through the enterprise in real time," he said. "As we looked at that, we saw that was a real big opportunity."

Autonomy also brings to HP its LiveVault cloud storage business, which it got with the May acquisition of Iron Mountain Digital Services. That cloud storage business in part works through an indirect sales channel.

For the most part, however, HP's plan to acquire Autonomy has not met with enthusiasm from HP's channel partners, some of whom asked HP to focus on its more traditional business.

HP said it will provide further information on HP's plans to integrate Autonomy at a later date.