Bloomberg News

Hewlett-Packard Says It Acquires Control Under Autonomy Offer

October 03, 2011

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest personal-computer maker, said it acquired control of business information-management software maker Autonomy Corp. under its $10.3 billion purchase offer.

Holders of about 87 percent of Autonomy’s stock accepted the offer of 2,550 pence ($39.35) a share, the Palo Alto, California-based company said today in a statement. Autonomy will be run as a separate unit under current Chief Executive Officer Mike Lynch, Hewlett-Packard said.

The purchase of the U.K.’s second-largest software company added to pressure on ousted Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker and fueled a public dispute with Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison, who said he rejected the opportunity to buy Autonomy for a price that he thinks is “absurdly high.”

Apotheker had announced an overhaul on Aug. 18 that included the Autonomy purchase and a possible spinoff of the personal-computer business. He also killed off the company’s WebOS tablets and smartphones.

A month later, the former SAP AG chief executive was removed by Hewlett-Packard’s board. Hewlett-Packard named former EBay Inc. CEO Meg Whitman to succeed him.

Directors took cues from investors who said they felt blindsided by the Autonomy deal, one person close to the Hewlett-Packard said last month. In private meetings earlier this year, Apotheker had told several large shareholders that the company wasn’t planning to make big acquisitions, the person said. The CEO didn’t alert the board to the remarks, even as they weighed the takeover, according to the person.

Autonomy, based in Cambridge, England, will give Hewlett- Packard software that searches a broad range of information, known as unstructured data, including e-mails, music, video and posts on social networks such as Facebook Inc.

Hewlett-Packard fell 25 cents to $22.20 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 47 percent this year.

--Editors: John Lear, Nick Turner

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at

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