UK enterprise search and e-discovery vendor Autonomy has entered an agreement to buy Interwoven, maker of content management software, in a deal valued at about US$775 million, (NZ$1.4 billion).
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. The combined entity will have more than 20,000 customers, and will constitute "the largest company dedicated to the legal information management industry", according to the two firms.
Interwoven has a number of local clients, including New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and law firm Simpson Grierson.
Autonomy sees a growing market for e-discovery due to increased litigation and recent regulatory changes, which have "heightened the need to capture and understand information", such as employee communications, the companies say.
Forrester Research has said e-discovery spending will grow to more than US$4.8 billion by 2011, up from US$1.4 billion in 2006.
Meanwhile, Interwoven's software is in use at 1,200 top law firms and supports 100,000 websites, extranets and intranets, according to a statement.
One industry observer and Autonomy shareholder has praised the pending acquisition.
"Web content management and search are obvious bedfellows," says Richard Holway, a tech analyst based in the UK. "Secondly, Interwoven's strongest sector is legal -- again a great fit with Autonomy which has made its reputation in compliance and disclosure," he says.
Analyst firm The 451 Group said in a blog post that the deal would leave stand-alone content management vendors such as Vignette "in an even worse position".
Autonomy has made a number of acquisitions in recent years, such as its 2007 purchase of archiving and e-discovery vendor Zantaz for US$375 million. The spree has Autonomy "looking more and more like a mini-Oracle every day", the unsigned 451 Group post said.
Additional reporting by David Watson