Software
News
8/19/2011
03:57 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Will Microsoft, Oracle Also Bid For Autonomy?

Hewlett-Packard could have some competition as it looks to acquire the British enterprise search specialist.

Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision
HP may not be the only tech giant chasing after U.K.-based software maker Autonomy.

Richard Windsor, an analyst for Nomura International, said Microsoft and Oracle may also be eyeing the company, which specializes in enterprise search and information management. "There is a distinct possibility of a counterbid," said Windsor, in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Microsoft has about $9.6 billion in cash and equivalents and Oracle has about $16 billion, compared to HP's war chest of $13 billion. Either company may be in a position to prepare a leveraged bid for Autonomy. "That could cause HP some considerable problems," said Windsor. HP has offered $42.11 a share for Autonomy.

Autonomy could enhance Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search software, or it could complement Microsoft's Bing search technology. Microsoft in the past has shown a willingness to pay big for enterprise search. The company in 2008 paid $1.2 billion for Fast Search & Transfer.

Autonomy may be a particularly attractive target for U.S. tech vendors because it is British. "These cash-rich companies look quite favorably on acquisitions because a lot of their cash is stuck overseas and they can't bring it back into the U.S. without paying a substantial tax so acquisitions of this nature are quite attractive to them," said Windsor.

HP, for its part, believes Autonomy could be a valuable addition to its portfolio of cloud computing offerings as it looks to boost margins by exiting the PC business.

"Autonomy presents an opportunity to accelerate our strategic vision to decisively and profitably lead a large and growing space," said HP CEO Leo Apotheker in a statement. "Autonomy brings to HP higher value business solutions that will help customers manage the explosion of information. Together with Autonomy, we plan to reinvent how both unstructured and structured data is processed, analyzed, optimized, automated and protected."

Apotheker added that Autonomy fits well with HP's existing lineup of middleware.

"Autonomy has an attractive business model, including a strong cloud-based solution set, which is aligned with HP's 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," he said.

Shares of Autonomy closed up 71.6% in Friday trading, to $40.56.

At the 2011 InformationWeek 500 Conference, C-level executives from leading global companies will gather to discuss how their organizations are turbo-charging business execution and growth--how their accelerated enterprises manage cash more effectively, invest more wisely, delight customers more consistently, manage risk more profitably. The conference will feature a range of keynote, panel, and workshop sessions. St. Regis Monarch Beach, Calif., Sept. 11-13. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Tech Digest Oct. 27, 2014
To meet obligations -- and avoid accusations of cover-up and incompetence -- federal agencies must get serious about digitizing records.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.