Autonomy benefits from need to search documents faster

Autonomy – one of the original UK startups but now publicly traded – has won a $70m (£35m) deal with the Citigroup bank – its largest contract to date and evidence that the search firm will benefit from the US subprime lending crisis. Why? Because Autonomy has software to quickly find documents for lawsuits, which are expected to rise in the wake of the credit crunch. It normally takes months or years to search unstructured documents like e-mails and phone records and now the US government requires companies to file all documents to the court in just 99 days. Citigroup reported subprime-related losses of $11bn last year, leading to the resignation of Chuck Prince, chief executive. Autonomy acquired the software in question through the purchase of US-based rival Zantaz in July for $375m. Shares in Autonomy closed up 3 per cent at 901p on Thursday. UK company Jiglu had an enterprise technology for searching emails, but flipped it into a Web 2.0 consumer play. Perhaps they should take advantage of the downturn and revive their old model?