Autonomy Exercises Option To Buy Blinkx; Merges With Its Consumer Division; Will IPO It In London

This is among the first such IPOs in the still-nascent online video search space, and almost solves the mystery of the weirdly secretive relationship between the data/information search company Autonomy and video search consumer site Blinkx. Also, keep in mind that Blinkx was on the block for a while two years ago, but a deal never materialized.

Anyway, the announcement on this from Autonomy is very dense, so I’ll try explaining: The UK-based Autonomy has exercised an option to take over the consumer site Blinkx (Blinkx founder and CEO Suranga Chandratillake — a former U.S. CTO of Autonomy — told Search Engine Watch in 2005 that Autonomy didn’t have any equity in the search site, but was only providing the search technology behind the service)….the site had about $10-12 million invested in it since it founded in 2003. With the takeover, Autonomy is spinning off its consumer division (the technology), merging it with Blinkx Inc (the video search site), renaming the two together as Blinkx, plc, and then will float them through an IPO on London’s AIM market in May. Autonomy plans to hold 10 percent of the demerged unit after the listing.

The move should also help Autonomy focus on its enterprise division. Will be interesting to watch out for Blinkx’s IPO filings as that will give an idea on the kind of revenues the much-hyped-yet-poorly-perceived company has been making.

FT: Autonomy has had a lower profile in the consumer market, however. It launched a consumer search technology in 2000 but was dwarfed by rival search engines such as Yahoo and Google. In 2005 the company re-entered the consumer sector, when it began a joint venture with China Netcom Broadband Corporation, the telecoms operator, to provide a internet video search for Chinese consumers.