HP Autonomy Tries To Claw Back After Lawsuits And Write-Down

Robert-YoungjohnsHP Autonomy, the British software maker that Hewlett Packard acquired two years ago for $10.3 billion and wrote down in a multibillion-dollar loss, is hoping to erase some of that bad press with its new HP Digital Marketing Hub.

The Marketing Hub is a cloud-based interface that lets marketers identify customer segments, build prescriptive models that match segments to targeted campaigns and engage with customers across advertising, contact center, mobile, print, social and Web touch points. The platform combines the technologies of HP Autonomy (which specializes in analyzing unstructured data) with the analytic capabilities of HP Vertica and HP Labs.

The Marketing Hub also offers partnerships with BlueKai, Digital River, ExactTarget, Experian Marketing Services, Hybris Software (acquired by SAP), Kenshoo, Marketo and Rio SEO. Consulting partners include Covario, Critical Mass, Deloitte Digital, Realise and Sapient.

“We’ve always had a core engine that processes information from social media, email, video and other click-stream data,” said Andrew Joiner, general manager of emerging technology and marketing at HP Autonomy. “The Digital Marketing Hub lets us tap into a whole new array of information that we haven’t used yet to provide better insight into consumers.”

In addition to competing with the myriad multichannel, analytics-focused ad platforms that already exist, HP Autonomy is clawing its way out of the debacle surrounding its acquisition price.

HP acquired Autonomy in 2011 for $10.3 billion and, in late 2012, said it was writing down $8.8 billion of the deal. HP blamed Autonomy’s management team for the majority of the write-down and accused the team of “accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures” that inflated the value of the company.

“These efforts appear to have been a willful effort to mislead investors and potential buyers, and severely impacted HP management’s ability to fairly value Autonomy at the time of the deal,” said HP in a statement.

HP faces several lawsuits from shareholders who are accusing the company of having ignored warning signals in its decision to buy Autonomy. Autonomy’s founder, Michael Lynch, denied the mismanagement charges and accused Hewlett-Packard of mishandling the acquisition. Lynch left Autonomy in May last year and was replaced by former Microsoft executive Robert Youngjohns.

Youngjohns, who joined HP Autonomy a few weeks before news of the write-down broke, noted that the company  “had some issues that are being dealt with, but we’re putting that behind us and looking forward.”

As part of its makeover, Youngjohns said he introduced three goals for Autonomy’s roughly 3,000 employees: to be customer-focused and innovative, and to leverage and integrate into HP’s other technologies. “There have been a lot of questions about Autonomy’s long-term future,” Younjohns said “And we’re turning it around by executing in a solid steady way and not getting obsessed with image.”

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