Hewlett-Packard (HP) renamed its $8 billion test and measurement unit, which is due to be spun off in the middle of next year, as Agilent Technologies on Wednesday.
The unit develops test and measurement equipment for the semiconductor, communications and electronics industry and a range of analytical instruments for the chemical and healthcare sectors. It currently generates between 15-18 per cent of HP's revenues.
The new name is based on the word, “agile” and is supported by the tagline, "Innovation the HP Way". Ned Barnholt, Agilent’s chief executive, said the company chose not to include 'HP' in the actual name to make it easier to brand the company as an independent concern.
The name change follows HP’s decision in March to split into two independent companies, one concentrating on IT and the other on specialist equipment for specific industries. Barnholt admitted that the "toughest decision" was chosing which company would retain the HP brand, but that it would be less challenging for the test and measurement business to adopt a new identity.
"We have hundreds of thousands of customers rather than millions [which the IT business has]. They know us well and we can communicate our new name to them, so we made a business decision not a sentimental one," he said, adding that HP’s original background was in test and measurement equipment.
Agilent, which is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and employs 43,000 staff, will begin advertising under its new brand next month, but will remain an HP business until it is officially spun off in the middle of next year.
HP's research and development facility will also be split in two, with Agilent taking the 30 per cent of engineers who already work on testing and measurement tools. Agilent will also retain many of its own patents, although it will continue to share certain ones with HP.
Barnholt said the biggest challenge would be running the business well now that Agilent was accountable for its own actions. "As Agilent, what we do will be magnified by a factor of six," he added.
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