Well in the news yesterday, HP announced its plan to acquire Autonomy. I know “this is not the acquisition you were looking for” but it’s another major consolidation play. Back in the Summer of 2009, the rumor was Microsoft would buy Autonomy. I really didn’t see that happening. For me Microsoft had made its major play in ECM and Autonomy just didn’t fit the bill. My prediction, HP would buy Autonomy. I like the platform idea and how it fits well into HP multi-server strategy. There was some healthy debate on the subject.
So why now?
Much of what I said back in 2009 is still true. But with the economy the way it is today, organizations more than ever are looking at solutions. And with Autonomy’s wide range of platforms that means lots of solutions for which HP now has software that fits on top of their server, two of those are in the key areas of eDiscovery and archiving. HP can now send it sales team in to sell more software that sits on those server. Remember, HP’s hardware sales team is already comfortable selling software.
For those that think that $10B was a high price, don’t forget Autonomy’s cash heavy position ($736M) that everyone thought was there for acquisitions. I still think it’s a little bit high but Autonomy was worth a premium.
The acquisition of Autonomy by HP also brings to a close some other rumors and leaves other. While still the brides maid, OpenText …
I looked at your 2009 post and you nailed it! It would be interesting to hear predictions for Open Text and Hyland Software.
I was rather bullish on Open Text being acquired by Google. I had a feeling that Google wanted to go more enterprise, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. With their success with SharePoint I don’t see Microsoft doing it. Oracle has their product strategy but it’s not as well formed so that could be possible. My bet is on Dell. I think the move made by HP forces Dell to look at the software market.
As to Hyland. I don’t think their product direction is creating broad enough appeal from an acquisition perspective from the traditional candidate companies. I see them being acquired by Epic. But I’m not sure they’re looking right now. Also, being private, it’s hard to know what sort of war chest has been developed.
By the way, these are just my personal opinions based on personal observations.