HP Finalizes Autonomy Deal, Ellison Claims Oracle’s Still Better

Hewlett-Packard published a press release today announcing that it has closed off the $10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy, a UK-based analytics firm. The electronics giant acquired 213,421,299 shares of the company for $39.28 per share in cash, 87.34 percent worth, and has now assumed control of it.

“The acquisition positions HP as a leader in the large and growing enterprise information management space. Autonomy’s software offerings power more than 25,000 customer accounts worldwide and, as part of HP, will provide high-value business solutions to help customers manage the explosion of unstructured and structured information.”

But it’s the background story that makes this deal particularly interesting.  HP paid a 78 percent premium for Autonomy, and Oracle took that as an opportunity to criticize the acquisition.  The company and its CEO Larry Ellison claim that Autonomy’s chief exec Mike Lynch tried to sell them his company with a meeting with former HP head and now Oracle VP Mike Hurt, as well as another senior executive.  Even as Oracle Openworld takes place in San Francisco this week, Ellison continues his roast of the HP-Autonomy deal, boasting that his company can do what Autonomy does, only faster.

Oracle also said that it thinks the sum of the acquisitions is too high, something many analysts seem to agree with.  The deal also follows a number of large, failed acquisitions HP made but it didn’t come without a purpose.

Hewlett-Packard is doing damage control now that it has appointed its third CEO in two years, and big data is one of the key trends it hopes to capitalize on in order to get back up on its feet.  The acquisition was first announced during the company’s Q3 earnings call by former head Leo Apotheker, who also announced that HP’s $41BN Personal Systems Group may be spun off.  Meg Whitman, the current head of the company will likely carry out this move according to some analysts, which means that Hewlett-Packard need to strengthen its big data portfolio with Autonomy’s cloud IPs.