Hewlett-Packard seals £6.2bn deal to buy Britain's Autonomy

 

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has agreed to buy Autonomy, Britain's largest software company, for £6.2bn as part of a fundamental shift away from the personal computer manufacturing business for which it is most famous.

The US giant announced the takeover last night, along with another set of disappointing results and a decision to spin off or sell its PC business. The spin-off would be the most dramatic event in the sector since IBM sold its personal computer business to Lenovo of China in 2004.

For Autonomy, which makes compliance software to help companies to track emails and phone calls, a takeover is the culmination of months of negotiations. Earlier this year, it was rumoured to have attracted bid interest from a number of global software firms, including Oracle and Microsoft.

The company, which has joint headquarters in Cambridge and San Francisco, was set up in 1996 by Mike Lynch using technology that emerged from his research at Cambridge University. Mr Lynch is still chief executive and will continue to run the company under HP's ownership.

Despite growing to become the largest technology business in the UK, few consumers have ever heard of the company. In an attempt to raise its profile, the group announced the shirt sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club last year and the Mercedes GP Formula One team in May.

The two sides agreed a takeover price of £25.50 per Autonomy share, a premium of 64 per cent over its closing price yesterday. "This is a momentous day in Autonomy's history," Mr Lynch said. "HP provides Autonomy with the platform to bring our world-leading technology and innovation to a truly global stage, making the shift to a future age of the information economy a reality."

HP is the largest manufacturer of personal computers in the world, but a combination of weak business and consumer spending and competition from new tablet computers such as the Apple iPad has contributed to sliding sales. Revenues in its "personal systems group" fell 5 per cent in the second quarter, and sales direct to consumers were down 23 per cent. Headline figures for the third quarter and a gloomy outlook for the fourth, released ahead of schedule last night, suggested there has been little improvement.

The appointment of Léo Apotheker, previously chief executive of the German software maker SAP, to run HP last year was seen as a move to shift the focus of the company towards software and services and away from its traditional hardware businesses. HP will still make servers and other large-scale hardware for corporate clients, but is increasingly trying to bundle these together with software and consulting.

It is clear Mr Apotheker is moving more quickly and radically than expected. The spin-off or sale of the PC business includes computers for businesses as well as for consumers, and the company said last night that it was also discontinuing its TouchPad tablet computer line and smartphones based on the WebOS operating system. HP acquired WebOS when it bought Palm, the hand-held device manufacturer, for $1.2bn just 16 months ago.

"Today is all about driving shareholder value," Mr Apotheker said on a conference call to explain the strategic turnabouts. "We are focusing on what needs to be fixed."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments