Autonomy’s Mike Lynch set for £568 million payday

Mike Lynch, the founder of one of the UK's most successful technology companies, Autonomy, is set for a £568 million payday after Hewlett-Packard agreed to acquire the business for £7.1 billion.

Shares in Autonomy jumped on the London Stock Exchange following the announcement that the US computer giant would takeover the company.

Under the terms of the offer, Autonomy shareholders will be entitled to receive £25.50 in cash per Autonomy share. The offer price represents a premium of 64 per cent to the closing price of £15.58 per share on 17 August. The deal will be funded from a combination of HP’s existing cash resources and debt financing, which has been arranged by Barclays Capital.

Lynch, who founded Autonomy in 1996, owns 8 per cent in the company in a stake worth about £568 million at the takeover price, excluding stock options. According to reports, he will continue to lead the company as a division of HP following the deal.

Lynch describes the acquisition as a ‘momentous day in Autonomy’s history’.

He adds, ‘From our foundation in 1996, we have been driven by one shared vision: to fundamentally change the IT industry by revolutionising the way people interact with information. HP shares this vision and provides Autonomy with the platform to bring our world-leading technology and innovation to a truly global stage, making the shift to a future age of the information economy a reality.’

Occasionally accused of being aloof, Lynch once described the company as existing ‘in a market of one’. In starting the company, he drew on research he had conducted at Cambridge University into probability and particularly a statistical inference theorem developed by the Rev Thomas Bayes in the 18th century.

Autonomy’s search technology uses both learning and interference to actually ‘understand’ what is being looked for. The company joined the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100 in September 2008. The technology has also been spun-off in the form of Blinkx, a video search engine company, which is led by Lynch’s protégé Suranga Chandratillake.

Autonomy’s customer base comprises of more than 17,000 global companies and organizations. More than 350 other software companies incorporate Autonomy technology, and more than 400 partners also sell the company’s products. The company has offices worldwide.

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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