Autonomy is to acquire Interwoven in a deal worth about $775m (£563m) as yet another enterprise content management (ECM) exits its niche.

Ever since Documentum agreed to sell out to EMC back in 2003, ECM firms have been turning into components of software stacks. IBM bought FileNet and Oracle bought Stellent while there has also been consolidation within the sector as Open Text has picked off Hummingbird and Red Dot while at the same time stretching to encompass portals, collaboration and other related segments.

This is not Autonomy's first venture into ECM. It bought Meridio in 2007 and content management has always been highly complementary to its core information management and discovery business.

Autonomy said that the merged company would have a broader portfolio and greater scale, with over 20,000 customers and new cross-selling opportunities available. The deal should also please joint customers who now have only one cheque to sign, including Bank of America, Bayer, Deutsche Bank, DLA Piper, Shell and Tesco.

One particular area of power will be in the legal sector where Interwoven has always been strong and Autonomy has been edging into the field through the acquisition of Zantaz, and organically as increased levels of regulation have forced organisations to pay more attention to information management and discovery processes.

Analysts applauded the deal with Goldman Sachs noting that Autonomy has a god record in integrating acquired companies and Teathers pointing to the fact that Autonomy's core IDOL technology is already licensed to ECM players, including Interwoven itself.

Now all eyes will be on remaining ECM independents, notably Vignette and Open Text. For years now, SAP has been expected to make a move into the sector while Microsoft could also be an acquirer.

The Interwoven move will also make Autonomy even more of a bellwether of UK-founded technology firms. The company has impressed recently with strong growth in revenues and profit.

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