HP waited until after the market closed today to announce its acquisition
of Australian-based Tower Software, a leading provider of document and
records management software. Terms of the deal, expected to close in the
second quarter of this calendar year, were not disclosed.
The acquisition of Tower would seem a good complement to HP current
e-discovery and compliance portfolio of products. In fact, the deal cements an
existing partnership between the firms, as HP (NYSE: HPQ) already integrates
Tower’s TRIM Context with the HP Integrated Archive Platform for a combined
records management and compliance solution.
Trim Context is a records
management solution designed to help companies differentiate between
business records and business correspondence, and, when used as part of HP’s
archive solution, provide one searchable database.
Tower CEO Martin Howard said in a teleconference announcing the deal that
the acquisition will greatly expand his company’s opportunity to grow. “I’m
absolutely thrilled and excited by the acquisition,” he said. “From Tower’s
perspective, this alliance will open global markets that Tower could never
do on its own.”
Which is not to say Tower’s been floundering. Howard said Tower’s been
growing faster the rest of the records management market at about 25-28
percent annually, versus an industry average of 15-18 percent.
Tower has more than a thousand customers and some 780,000 users worldwide in such
industries as energy, life sciences, healthcare and legal. Market research
firm Forrester expects North American businesses and government
organizations to spend more than $5 billion on e-discovery over the next five years.
Robin Purohit, vice president and general manager of HP’s Information
Management Software group, said the deal presents HP with a huge opportunity
to gain ground in the fast-growing records management market that he said
has no clear leader.
He said with increasing government and industry
regulations, demand for better records management and easy access to
documents for legal and other matters, has never been stronger.
“The combination of the HP and Tower software
portfolios is expected to be hugely beneficial to the legal and IT
organizations of businesses all over the world,” said Purohit.
Tower has more than 22 years of paper and electronic records management
experience and has U.S. offices in Reston, Virginia. The company has about
240 employees globally – about half in the U.S. and outside of Australia.
Howard said the company’s largest contract to date in the U.S. involved some
360,000 users as part of a deal with IT services firm EDS for the Navy and