HP to Acquire Info Management Software Firm Autonomy

With the $10 billion buy, HP hopes to boost its enterprise software line

After half a day of frenzied speculation from the IT industry, Hewlett-Packard has confirmed that it is acquiring information management software vendor Autonomy, for US$42.11 per share, or about $10.3 billion.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2011.

Founded in 1996, Autonomy offers a broad line of information management software, including enterprise search, content management, data analysis and governance software. It serves more than 25,000 organizations, including BAE Systems, Boeing, Citigroup, Coca Cola, FedEx, Ford, the New York Stock Exchange, Shell, Tesco, T-Mobile, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Software companies such as Citrix, Oracle, Sybase, Symantec, Tibco as well as HP itself all incorporate Autonomy software into their own packaged offerings.

The acquisition will "accelerate" HP's enterprise software business, said HP President and CEO Lo Apotheker in a quarterly results conference call. Traditionally, HP's enterprise services and hardware sales have dwarfed its software sales. For fiscal 2010, services generated almost $35 billion in net revenue and enterprise hardware generated $18.5 billion, while software brought in $3.5 billion. Autonomy reported revenue of $870 million for 2010.

Autonomy will operate as a business unit within HP and will be led by current Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch. The company employs 2,700 workers worldwide.

HP disclosed the Autonomy purchase as one of a number of reorganizational changes accompanying its third-quarter 2011 results. The company also stated it would spin off its personal computing unit and cease making webOS-based tablets and phones.

HP has also appointed John Visentin as executive vice president of HP Enterprise Services. He will report directly to Apotheker. Visentin will take the place of Tom Iannotti, who is retiring. Formerly, Visentin led HP Enterprise Services for the Americas.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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