Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

HP’s Autonomy Sells Off Stake in Video Search Company Blinkx

Here’s a name from the Internet’s distant past that I hadn’t thought about in awhile: The video search engine Blinkx. Did you know that IT giant Hewlett-Packard ended up owning a big piece of it? Neither did I.

The last time I heard about Blinkx was about a decade ago when it was just getting its legs, in 2005 or so. Walt Mossberg wrote about it in a column for The Wall Street Journal in 2006.

Not long after that, it wound up in need of some technology provided by the British software firm Autonomy that in turn led to it being taken public on one of London’s stock exchanges.

Yes, that Autonomy, the one acquired by HP in 2011 for about $10 billion, in a transaction about which HP last year admitted it overpaid by about $5 billion. Also, sometime last year, Blinkx replaced Truveo as the power behind AOL’s video search.

So, how did Blinkx wind up inside HP’s investment portfolio? As Mashable’s Pete Cashmore explained in a 2007 story, the arrangement that led to Blinkx’s IPO went a little like this: Autonomy loaned Blinkx some technology and some money with the right to buy the company later on, which it eventually did. In 2007 Autonomy floated it on London’s Alternative Investment Market, raising about $50 million in the process.

Today Autonomy — and by that I mean HP — said it would sell off the last of its holdings in Blinkx in a transaction worth about $84.5 million. Reuters covered the transaction in a two-paragraph story earlier today.

I checked in with HP on this. Spokesman Michael Thacker said in an email: “HP is selling its stake in Blinkx as part of our ongoing efforts to refocus the company on our strategic priorities.”

Also worthy of note, since we’re on the subject: Blinkx director, former HP executive and Autonomy founder Mike Lynch sold a bunch of his shares in the video search outfit as well. Earlier this month he sold a million shares worth a tidy sum of $1.75 million, yet he still owns 21 million more shares, enough for control of nearly 6 percent of the company, and which by my math is worth about $40 million and change.

Whoever you happen to be, it’s probably the right time to sell. Blinkx shares, as you can see here in this screen grab from Yahoo Finance’s U.K. site, have appreciated considerably this year.

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