Article

blinkx shares surge 40 per cent on LSE debut

23 May 2007

Nic Fildes

Shares in Blinkx surged 40 per cent after the company's market debut as investors clamoured to invest in the world's largest internet video search provider.

Blinkx has been spun out of Autonomy, the contextual internet search specialist that has retained a 10 per cent stake in the business. While Autonomy has often struggled to explain the significance and potential of its complex technology to befuddled investors, it appears that the rapid success of internet video companies such as YouTube has underlined the growth prospects of Blinkx.

Suranga Chandratillake, the chief executive of Blinkx, said that investors have focused on the potential for online video as opposed to the company's underlying technology. "There is definitely a general acceptance that this is a very important and fast growing market. The internet is quickly moving from being a text-based medium to a visual and audio medium," he said.

In scenes reminiscent of the dotcom boom that characterised the markets in the early part of this decade, Blinkx shares surged 40 per cent to 63p on the first day of trading on the AIM market. The initial listing price of 45p a share was already at the top end of the pricing range and the IPO was strongly oversubscribed. Blinkx ended the day with a market capitalisation of £175m.

Blinkx does not expect to make a profit this year. It was founded three years ago by a former Autonomy executive and has grown rapidly. Autonomy exercised an option to buy out the business this month and immediately announced plans to demerge the company to focus on its own software.

Blinkx is based on Autonomy's IDOL software and has signed a five-year deal to use its former parent's technology on an exclusive basis.

Blinkx offers more than 13 million hours of indexed video content, making it the largest video search engine in the world. Mr Chandratillake said the company's technology provides "the critical link" between the consumer and the fragmented online content industry. It processed 1.1 million searches last month alone.

The company has raised £25m that will be used predominantly to bulk up its sales and development staff. Mr Chandratillake said the company was looking to launch a broadband-based television service. He added that the company was also looking to develop an advertising platform.