HP extends deadline as Autonomy shareholders drag feet

What could lie behind this odd reluctance?

For Sale sign detail

HP has extended the acceptance deadline for its Autonomy bid as fewer than half the UK software developers' shareholders approved the £7bn deal.

Yesterday's closing date for agreeing on HP's £25.50 per share offer made on 19 August passed with just 42 per cent of Autonomy investors giving the thumbs-up, despite the deal representing a 78 per cent premium based on last month's market valuation.

As a result, HP has pushed out the deadline to 3 October, the US tech titan confirmed in a filing with the London Stock Exchange.

The buy would take HP further into the field of business analytics – a path well-trodden by rival IBM – and follows on from Apotheker's first acquisition as CEO, that of Vertica.

Indeed speculation – and it is just industry gossip – suggested that others were considering making a bid for Cambridge-based Autonomy. However, veteran analyst Richard Holway, chairman at TechMarketView, dismissed this.

"Nobody really expected a rival bid to top that, so it's a bit surprising that acceptances to date are not higher," he said in a blog post this morning.

Holway did note that the share price of Autonomy had risen slightly on the news of the deadline extension, up from opening trades of £25.17 to £25.24 at the time of writing. ®

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