Video Search Engine Blinkx Going Public With Autonomy

Blinkx, the video search startup long rumored to be an acquisition target, is going public with the help of a British provider of search tools named Autonomy. The two companies have an existing relationship, with Autonomy offering several of Blinkx's services.

Blinkx has made a name for itself in recent years with proprietary technology that combines voice recognition with image and contextual analysis.

The company claims that a partnership with Microsoft to power the video search on MSN and has made it the "single biggest video search engine on the Web." In addition, Blinkx powers video search on AOL, Lycos, Times Online and other major sites. It also indexes video clips from around the Web and allow users to search them on and partner sites.

Now, combined with Autonomy's consumer technology, Blinkx will be floated in May on the London Stock Exchange's secondary Alternative Investment Market--established in 1995 as a vehicle for trades in small, high-growth companies.

Autonomy currently holds no stake in Blinkx, but was granted an option as part of a license agreement, under which Blinkx uses Autonomy software to search video content for users. Autonomy's share in Blinkx will reduce to 10% as the company pays shareholders a tax-efficient dividend in the form of Blinkx shares, according to Autonomy.

The new company is expected to be valued between $150 million and $500 million, while the validity of such a valuation is difficult to gauge because Blinkx releases few internal metrics, and traffic to the site is too low for comScore to measure.

As early as 2005, news reports raised speculation over whether News Corp. might be interested in Blinkx.

Citing SEC regulations, Blinkx would not comment on the deal on Wednesday.

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