HP extends its £7.1bn bid for Autonomy

City A.M. Reporter
HEWLETT-PACKARD has extended the deadline for its £7.1bn takeover of British software company Autonomy, with analysts predicting the US firm is on course to succeed.

HP has extended the deadline for the offer to 3 October after gaining acceptances from shareholders representing 41.6 per cent of shares.

The company requires a further 33.4 per cent support from Autonomy investors to delist its target from the London Stock Exchange.

“I am very surprised that they have needed to extend it at all,” S&P equity research analyst James Crawshaw said yesterday.

“I would have expected Autonomy shareholders to be all pretty much happy with the takeout price.”

Although it is rare for takeover offers to gain more than a handful of acceptances at the first closing date, with around 10 per cent the usual level expected, some analysts said they thought more investors would have taken up the offer because HP is offering a hefty 79 per cent premium. HP offered an agreed 2,550p per Autonomy share on 18 August, which it said valued the enterprise search software company’s fully diluted share capital at £7.09bn.

Analysts said the delay could be down to the hedge funds that hold large stakes in Autonomy, and that are known to wait for the last minute before accepting an offer.