Autonomy Acquires Iron Mountain's Digital Storage Businesses for $380M

The U.K.-based company puts itself on the world map in digital storage by acquiring Iron Mountain's digital archiving, e-discovery and online backup businesses for $380 million in cash.

Iron Mountain has committed to refocusing itself on its 60-year-old core business, storage and protection of physical media and other property, and is getting out of the digital storage business.

U.K.-based Autonomy, a fast-growing, multifaceted IT company, reported May 16 that it will acquire Iron Mountain's digital archiving, e-discovery and online backup business for $380 million in cash.

The move propels Autonomy, which mostly has been known within the business and legal communities for its widely deployed and respected analytics and e-discovery systems, into the mix as one of the world's top 10 data protection providers.

Fifteen-year-old Autonomy, founded as a result of research and development at Cambridge University, said it expects the deal to increase its revenue by about $135 million per year.

Boston-based Iron Mountain, well known for its information management services and heavily secured under- and above-ground vaults that house everything from government and enterprise cold-storage documents to Hollywood movies, artworks and personal valuables, will be turning over digital files and data of about 6,000 customers to Autonomy. IMD has about 6PB (petabytes) of data currently under its management.

As a result of the transaction, Autonomy will continue to support Iron Mountain's existing customers with IM's Connected backup service, which it said will be offered to existing Autonomy customers.

IMD 'Retired' Its Public Storage Business in April

Only five weeks ago, Iron Mountain Digital, which got into the cloud storage race late in 2009, told eWEEK that it was "retiring" its commodity-type public storage services, Virtual File Store and Archive Service Platform. That left it with the archiving, e-discovery and custom backup businesses that Autonomy has purchased.

IMD said in April that had been planning to phase completely out of the basic online storage business by 2013, which made it the first major player in cloud storage to pull out of the sector. That phase-out happened sooner than expected, thanks to Autonomy.

Iron Mountain entered the digital storage business in 2001 as a natural extension of its services, but said that the digital business has faced a number of challenges, leading to a strategic review and decision to sell the unit.

Autonomy has been quietly gathering the pieces it needs to become a big-time digital content handler. In 2005 Autonomy acquired Verity, one of its main competitors, for approximately $500 million. In July 2007 it acquired Zantaz, an email archiving and litigation support company, for $375 million.

It bought Web content management provider Interwoven, a niche provider of enterprise content management software, for $775 million in 2009. In June 2010, the company acquired the information governance business of CA Technologies; terms of that sale were not disclosed.

Autonomy, with a market cap of $7 billion, is the second-largest pure software company in Europe (behind Germany's SAP) and has offices worldwide. Its customers include T-Mobile, Exxon, Toyota, Nestle, McGraw-Hill, General Motors, Federal Express, Sony, Kaiser Permanente, the U.S. Department of Defense, and a number of other Fortune 1000 enterprises.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...