Autonomy snaps up Interwoven for £560m

The Cambridge company known for enterprise search believes purchase of the US software maker will strengthen its compliance reach

Autonomy, a Cambridge-based infrastructure software company, has agreed to buy US content-management software specialist Interwoven for $775m (£564m).

The acquisition, announced on Thursday, is intended to marry Autonomy's strength in enterprise search with Interwoven's skills in web-content management. It should also improve Autonomy's access to the global legal and compliance industry through Interwoven's existing connections with these, Autonomy said in a statement. It expects the new combined customer base to number more than 20,000.

The two companies see compliance as a key area for them. "The combination of Autonomy and Interwoven, industry leaders in meaning-based computing and document and content-management respectively, will continue the extension of Autonomy's Idol [software product] as a key element of the regulatory, legal and compliance industries," Mike Lynch, group chief executive of Autonomy, said in the statement.

Idol, or 'intelligent data operating layer', is a key part of Autonomy's infrastructure software, which helps organisations automate the analysis of their information. It collects indexed data from a system and stores it in its proprietary structure for fast processing and retrieval of data. The aim is for enterprise systems to work on unstructured data as easily and quickly as they work with structured data.

"The intelligence of Autonomy's Idol technology can be used to extend Interwoven's web-content capabilities across 100,000 corporate websites, intranets and extranets already powered by Interwoven," Autonomy said.

In the proposed acquisition, Autonomy is offering stockholders $16.20 in cash for each outstanding Interwoven share, which closed at $11.84 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.