IDC’s HPC Group Spun out to Temporary Trusteeship

By Doug Black

March 9, 2017

The immediate fate of the HPC research group within International Data Corp. (IDC) became known yesterday with comments from (now former) IDC Program Vice President, HPC, Earl Joseph, who told HPCwire‘s sister pub EnterpriseTech his group is being spun out under the temporary trusteeship of an entity called Hyperion Research. The arrangement, engineered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), is designed to create a firewall between IDC and Joseph’s group of analysts while allowing it to continue its work in anticipation of an acquisition within the next 12 months.

The divestiture of the HPC group by IDC allows completion of the acquisition of International Data Group, Inc. (IDG), including its subsidiaries IDC, IDG Communications, and IDG Ventures, by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group and IDG Capital. The deal was first announced six weeks ago.

The transaction received clearance from CFIUS, but it was decided that Joseph’s HPC research group could not be included in the deal because of the sensitive nature of the research it does on behalf of the US government.

Earl Joseph at IDC Directions, Boston

“We can’t be owned by a Chinese entity, that’s what the rules are,” said Joseph at the IDC Directions conference in Boston, adding that 60 percent of its work is done on for the U.S. government. “IDC has had to remove everything from its records in our entire footprint. So all documents going back 20 years, employee files – just everything. There have been three rounds of purges.”

Joseph also said IDC is not allowed to do business in the HPC sector for three years. He emphasized that all the research services, such as its HPC User Forums, that his group delivered, while with IDC will continue unabated.

“The government said our group has to continue functioning,” Joseph said. “So IDC and Oceanwide had to put it together so everything we did in the past would continue….”

Under the terms of the agreement with CFIUS, the Hyperion Research trusteeship has to be sold within 12 months, but Joseph said the intent is for his group to be purchased within three to six months, “and the trustee thinks he can do it in six weeks.”

The terms of the IDG acquisition were not disclosed, but sources in January estimated the sales price to be between $500 million to $1 billion. Founded in 1964 by Pat McGovern, IDG is a global media, market research and venture company; it operates in 97 countries around the world. McGovern, the long-time CEO, passed away in 2014.

China Oceanwide is a privately held, multi-billion dollar, international conglomerate founded by Chairman Zhiqiang Lu. Its operations span financial services, real estate assets, media, technology and strategic investment. The company has a global business force of 12,000.

IDG Capital is an independently operated investment management partnership, which cites IDG as one of many limited partners. It was formed in 1993 as China’s first technology venture investment firm. It operates in many sectors, including Internet and wireless communications, consumer products, franchise services, new media, entertainment, education, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.

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