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HP extends deadline as Autonomy shareholders drag feet

What could lie behind this odd reluctance?

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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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