HP-Autonomy deal nearly done

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Autonomy’s impending acquisition by Hewlett-Packard is nearly done.

The $10.3 billion deal was cleared by regulators in the U.S. and Australia on Thursday. Autonomy shareholders  still have until Monday morning 10 a.m. U.K time to weigh in, according to a company spokeswoman cited in reports.

Autonomy’s enterprise search capabilities could be a boost to HP’s big data strategy and the purchase itself was a cornerstone of former CEO Leo Apotheker’s grand plan to build HP’s enterprise software and cloud services portfolio.

There was some question last week after Meg Whitman succeeded Apotheker as CEO as to whether his whole strategy would prevail, but it looks like the Autonomy piece of it is proceeding as planned.

The Autonomy buy was controversial from the moment it was announced on HP’s Aug. 18 earnings call because of the price. The next day, in a show of disapproval of this deal and HP’s decision to shop its PC business around, Wall Street lopped more than $12 billion off HP’s market cap.

The whole pricing question sparked an escalating war of words between Oracle CEO Larry Ellison  and HP/Autonomy.  That controversy flared again Thursday when Oracle posted a statement about the matter again, and Autonomy responded. 

Oracle and HP, once fairly tight partners, have been at odds since Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and its hardware business, putting the two companies in direct competition in the data center hardware market. That contention ratcheted up after Oracle hired Mark Hurd, HP’s deposed CEO, last year as co-president.

Thursday there was more speculation that HP’s decision to replace Apotheker with Whitman was made to shore up HP’s share price so that Oracle could not buy the company.

Image courtesy of Flickr user melmada.

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