San Francisco: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is considering a sale of some of its software assets as it continues to slim down its operations, according to people familiar with the matter.
The divestitures would come from a portfolio of acquisitions made over roughly the last decade, including Autonomy, Mercury Interactive and Vertica Systems, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. A sale process is in the preliminary stages and may not result in any deals, the people said.
Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman has been pushing the company to reduce its size and become nimbler to help it better take on rivals such as Dell and navigate the changing demands of corporate customers. After splitting from sister company HP in November, she announced in May she will spin off and merge its business-services division with Computer Sciences in a deal valued at $8.5 billion for HPE shareholders.
Howard Clabo, spokesman for HPE, declined to comment.
The overall software business has been under pressure. In the period ended in April, it had revenue of $774 million, down 13 per cent from the year-ago period. It contributed 5.8 per cent of overall revenue, down from 6.8 per cent. Still, its operating margins improved, the company said.
The Autonomy acquisition came under fire soon after it was purchased for $10.3 billion in 2011. The next year, Hewlett-Packard wrote down $8.8 billion connected to the acquisition and said more than $5 billion was the result of accounting practices at the Cambridge, England-based software company. The deal brought legal headaches and is now seen as a key example of an overly aggressive acquisition strategy prior to Whitman’s arrival.
Mercury, which provides tools to measure the effectiveness of clients’ software and technology, was another large acquisition, valued at about $4.5 billion in 2006. It was the largest at the time since the $18.9 billion acquisition of Compaq. HP spent about $350 million on Vertica, a data-analysis company, in 2011.
Whitman left the door open for more divestitures during a call with analysts in May.
"Over time, we continue to ensure that we’ve got the right set of assets," she said. "We’re going to continue to optimise the set of assets that we have, but we’re really happy with the current portfolio."