Autonomy to be acquired by Hewlett-Packard

Tech giant offers to pay £7bn for search specialist Autonomy.

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Enterprise information management firm Autonomy, Britain's largest software business, has accepted a takeover bid of £7 billion ($11.7 billion) from Hewlett-Packard.  HP's offer of £25.50 a share has been unanimously accepted by the Autonomy board, which will now recommend it to shareholders. Founder Mike Lynch will continue to head the company.

Based in Cambridge, Autonomy specialises in enterprise search, information governance and knowledge management applications and its software also powers call centre solutions, security applications and customer relationship management systems. It is also developing a position in augmented reality technology with its Aurasma platform.

Autonomy's flagship technology IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer) uses adaptive pattern recognition, probabilistic modelling and contextual linguistic analysis to search and analyse unstructured data and automate the processing of varied inputs such as emails, documents, audio (such as phone calls), images or video.

Autonomy was founded in 1996 by Mike Lynch and Richard Gaunt, and floated on the EASDAQ exchange in 1998, then listed on the London Stock Exchange in November 2000. Acquisitions include search competitor Verity in 2005, content management business Interwoven in 2009, and digital archiving, online backup and eDiscovery provider Iron Mountain Digital in 2011. In 2010 the company reported record full year revenues of $870 million (up 18% from 2009) and profit before tax of $379m (up from $323m the previous year). As one of only two IT companies in the FTSE 100 (the other being ERP and accountancy software provider Sage), and as Europe's second largest software company, Autonomy's high profile is cemented with prominent sporting sponsorships: it is the shirt sponsor for Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur and also sponsors the Mercedes GP Formula 1 motor racing team.

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