HP looks like it is making good on its promise to make some money out of the ill-fated Autonomy buy, but not in a way anyone expected. Today, HP-Autonomy announced that it has sold a whole bunch of shares in video search vendor Blinkx netting it close to US$ 85 million.
Blinkx first appeared on the scene in 2005 and after "borrowing" some technology from Autonomy -- the exact nature of the loan is not clear -- and a lot of wheeling and dealing, Autonomy ended up with a substantial stake in the company.
According to HP-Autonomy, it has just sold 45.7 million shares, which are currently going for close to US$ 1.5 per share, 5% down on its stock market closing price yesterday, but still 40% above its price in August 2011 when HP announced it was buying Autonomy.
A point worth noting here: the closure of this sale represents the last remaining link between Autonomy’s founder and former HP bad-boy, Dr. Mike Lynch.
HP With Autonomy
According to a financial market filing by Blinkx, Lynch also sold off 1,000,000 shares on June 12 meaning that all business links between HP, Lynch, Autonomy and Blinkx have now been severed.
The other thing worth keeping in mind is HP’s determination to make Autonomy and its technology a success on its own and the fact that it is starting to sell of units that it does not see as core to its future roadmap.
Meg Whitman has already indicated that she would be doing that as the company struggles to get back on its feet, but until now there really hasn’t been much sold.
Getting rid of its Blinkx shares is only a small thing, but it may be the beginning of something much bigger as HP starts shedding business that is not part of its strategic plans moving into the future. Its not clear who picked up Blinkx’s shares.