IBM partnership gives Autonomy a lift

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The Independent Online

Autonomy, whose software helps businesses manage and categorize information, received a much-needed fillip yesterday as it unveiled a new partnership with IBM. The shares jumped 16 per cent to close at 422p.

Analysts, who described the partnership as little more than a marketing deal, attributed the share's climb to investors refocusing on the company.

IBM will bundle Autonomy's technology with its own WebSphere portal software should customers require it.

Shares in Autonomy, which hit £41 last November, have been languishing in a range of 250p to 500p ever since the company's April profit warning.

Ross MacMillan, an analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said: "While the [IBM] deal is not insignificant, I would not attach a huge amount of importance to it. Investors, who had not looked at Autonomy for some time, are just refocusing on it."

Separately, there was bleak news from nCipher, a provider of internet security software, which warned it would be difficult to produce a similar third-quarter sales figure to the previous year's £3.6m due to the tough trading environment caused by the slowdown of world economies. Its shares closed down 3.4 per cent at 71.5p, a new low.

It reported second-quarter figures that showed a pre-tax loss of £1.3m compared with losses of £143,000 in the first quarter. Sales were down £3.6m in the three months to 30 June from £4.5m.