HP To Acquire Information Management Software Vendor Autonomy

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It appears Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker is making good on his promise to increase HP's software sales.

HP will acquire Autonomy Corp., a developer of information management and infrastructure software, for $10.3 billion, the company said Thursday.

The buyout is one of HP's largest acquisitions and likely its largest software vendor acquisition ever.

HP and Autonomy directors have both approved the deal, which requires shareholder approval. HP said it expects to close the deal by the end of calendar 2011.

Autonomy, based in Cambridge, U.K., markets database search, information governance, information discovery, records management, archiving and Web content management software. Autonomy made news in May when it spent $380 million to acquire technology assets from Iron Mountain Digital, including digital archiving, e-discovery, and backup and recovery services.

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.

"Autonomy presents an opportunity to accelerate our strategic vision to decisively and profitably lead a large and growing space," Apotheker said in a statement.

"Autonomy brings to HP higher value business solutions that will help customers manage the explosion of information," Apotheker said. "Together with Autonomy, we plan to reinvent how both unstructured and structured data is processed, analyzed, optimized, automated and protected. Autonomy has an attractive business model, including a strong cloud based solution set, which is aligned with HPs efforts to improve our portfolio mix. We believe this bold action will squarely position HP in software and information to create the next-generation Information Platform, and thereby, create significant value for our shareholders."

Autonomy is HP's largest software acquisition, eclipsing the company's 2006 buyout of Mercury Interactive for $4.5 billion. But it still wouldn't exceed HP's acquisition of Electronic Data Systems for $13.9 billion in 2008 or come close to its 2002 buyout of Compaq Computer Corp. for $25 billion.

HP's more recent acquisitions include smartphone maker Palm ($1.2 billion) and data storage technology vendor 3Par ($2.35 billion).

Next: HP Partners Applaud HP's Software And Cloud Services Expansion Plans

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