HP takes control of takeover target Autonomy

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) ? Hewlett Packard Co. said Monday it has gained control of Autonomy Corp., sealing a deal that was announced shortly before HP fired Leo Apotheker as CEO last month.

More than 87 percent of Autonomy’s outstanding shares have accepted HP’s buyout offer of about $10 billion. That price raised questions about whether HP was paying too much for Autonomy, doubts that have been recently fueled by the taunts of Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison.

As part of the most recent hissing match between HP and Oracle, Ellison said he rejected Autonomy’s attempts to sell itself in April because he had concluded the company wasn’t worth more than $6 billion. Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has denied he was interested in selling the company to Oracle.

Autonomy specializes in finding electronic data stored on companies’ computers, a specialty that HP is betting will help as it competes against IBM Corp. and Oracle to become a one-stop technology shop for businesses around the world.

The Autonomy deal came together at the tail end of Apotheker’s 11-month stint as HP’s CEO. His successor, former eBay Inc. CEO Meg Whitman, said she believes the acquisition will prove to be a smart move.

“The exploding growth of unstructured and structured data and unlocking its value is the single largest opportunity for consumers, businesses and governments,” Whitman said.

HP, which is based in Palo Alto, plans to allow Autonomy run as a separate business under Lynch’s leadership.

Autonomy stockholders who haven’t yet accepted HP’s offer can still submit their shares.