Autonomy founder to offload stock as primary listing moves to London

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The Independent Online

Autonomy, one of the brightest stars in Britain's technology universe, is to switch its primary listing from Brussels' Easdaq market to the main London stock market, giving a boost to the credibility of the beleaguered London Stock Exchange.

Autonomy, one of the brightest stars in Britain's technology universe, is to switch its primary listing from Brussels' Easdaq market to the main London stock market, giving a boost to the credibility of the beleaguered London Stock Exchange.

Mike Lynch, Autonomy's founder and chief executive, and Apax Partners, the venture capital group with a 12.3 per cent stake, are together selling shares worth around $300m (£205m) in the offering. The sale should be completed in time for Autonomy to enter the FTSE 100 in December.

Dr Lynch first sold shares when the group, which produces software that comprehends text, took a secondary listing on the US Nasdaq index this year. He raised $27m after cutting his stake from 20.5 per cent to 19.7 per cent and is considering selling a similar amount again. Dr Lynch, who is to use part of the proceeds of the sales to purchase a second otter hound sniffer dog, dismissed suggestions he was selling out. "The way I have done things is to sell a small amount at set times."

Autonomy said the move was in response to demand from British investors, who already represent 30 per cent of its shareholders. The switch to London will also see Autonomy's Easdaq shares change denomination from dollars to pounds. Unlike Bookham Technology, the fibre optics group also preparing a secondary offering, Autonomy is not raising new money in the share sale.

The LSE would not list Autonomy when it floated on Easdaq in 1998 because it required companies have a three-year trading history. The rules were revised last year to allow Freeserve, the Net service provider, to float. Dr Lynch, once an outspoken critic of the LSE, said: "It's got its act together now. If only it had revised the rules sooner."

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