Following last week’s announcement about Interwoven being acquired by Autonomy, the CMS world is still shocked by the news and seems to be in the perpetual pondering mode about Interwoven’s future. I am no exception.
Where Autonomy’s Money is Coming From
As the UK’s Guardian reports, Autonomy really lucked out with good timing on the Interwoven acquisition. The day before the acquisition was announced, Autonomy raised £222m to help fund the $775m acquisition of Interwoven. Traders said the placing was covered around five times and took 60 minutes to complete. Autonomy’s shares closed up 39p at £10.72 that day.
On the same day, Microsoft warned investors that profits and revenues would drop over the next two quarters and announced plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs.
Let’s just wait and see how Autonomy will invest this money, and what it will do with Interwoven.
Autonomy Only Wants Interwoven’s Legal and Compliance Parts
From what I can see right now, Autonomy is most interested in Interwoven’s legal, governance and compliance/document management products and not as much in its Web Content Management or Digital Asset Management (DAM) offerings.
Autonomy is most known for its enterprise search focus and IDOL technologies, and its interest in enterprise-level offerings from Interwoven (WorkSite product line) couldn’t make more sense. What doesn’t make much sense right now is how the overlap between Interwoven’s WorkSite and Autonomy’s records management product Meridio will be handled.
Does that mean Autonomy will perform some sort of an Interwoven-ectomy and shut off the “unnecessary” parts (along with the corresponding human resources attached to them)?
With Interwoven’s future in the Web Content Management market (with its TeamSite product line) seemingly in question, the matters are even worse considering the fact that it’s been years since the last major release of TeamSite. CMS Watch speculates that TeamSite 7.0 )originally promised for 2007) may never see light. It is crystal clear that Interwoven is moving at a turtle’s pace with its TeamSite updates. And now would be a good time to retire this product altogether.
Autonomy’s Founder Mike Lynch and His Point of View
Autonomy’s boss Dr Michael Lynch OBE FREng wasn’t the last in line when buckets of ambition were distributed. Some Internet sources refer to him as an “arrogant but brilliant shit.” LOL, just the Irish man for the job ;)
Lynch is one of those examples of an academician turned entrepreneur. According to the Sunday Times, he is worth around $500M. Some sources dub him Britain’s first software billionaire. When an exec finds himself “stunned” by a Molière play and can relate to Shakespeare and Blake, that’s a whole different dimension. I want to interview him.
Lynch says that this move should be seen as more of an extension of the firm’s shift towards serving the governance, risk and compliance market rather than an embrace of traditional enterprise content management (ECM).
Interwoven and Autonomy Marriage: Happily Ever After?
Autonomy was founded out of pioneering research at Cambridge University. Interwoven is HQ-ed in San Jose, California. A bit shivered by the cultural shock already, aren’t you? I was also told that apparently Autonomy has its own corporate culture ideals which may not be easily digested by its child companies. I am guessing this is not a reference to British fish&chips.
CMS Industry Reacts to Interwoven Acquisition
My CMSWire colleague Barb Mosher put together a good overview of Web CMS vendors’ reactions regarding the first big acquisition of 2009. Many CMS vendors are, understandably, quite happy about -1 competitor to fight against and possible opportunities to expand their market shares.
Some struggling CMS vendors could definitely use this break. Sad, however, to see how true the saying “Desperate times require desperate measures” becomes these days.