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HP names spinoff Agilent

Hewlett-Packard picks a new name for its test and measurement organization, which it is spinning off in an effort to streamline operations.

Hewlett-Packard will call its test and measurement organization Agilent Technologies.

Explaining that the name is derived from the word "agile," the name reflects the company's "focus on providing breakthrough products and services with agility, speed, and commitment to its customers," the company said in a statement.

Ned Barnholt, who has been at HP since 1966, will remain chief executive of the new company.

"Because Agilent is emerging from one of the best-known companies and strongest brands in the technology industry, the new name has special significance," Barnholt said in a statement. "Today we celebrate our origins as we launch our unique and separate characteristics and values in the Agilent name."

The logo for the spinoff is an eight-pointed starburst, made up of dots colored "HP blue," sources said.

The Web address for the new company is agilent-tech.com; the URL agilent.com is already taken by a company named Agile Enterprise. Someone tried to buy the latter URL, Agile said.

"We have had two people on two occasions who tried to buy our name this summer, but we don't know who," said Frank Rizzo, general manager of Agile Enterprise, a New Hampshire company. He hastened to add that the domain name is not for sale. "It's who we are."

HP's test and measurement organization--which makes semiconductor testing devices and other products--lies at the heart of the firm's history, but it's less known to consumers than its computer and printer business.

Earlier this year, the Silicon Valley giant announced that it would spin off the division into a separate company in an effort to streamline operations. An initial public stock offering may take place toward the end of the year.

While the test and measurement organization, which was called "NewCo" in the interim, accounts for only 20 percent of the company's revenues, that's still a lot of money. In fiscal 1998, the organization had revenues of $7.6 billion, HP said, which could make it one of the largest companies to hold an IPO to date.

In the spinoff, the test and measurement organization will get more than 90 of HP's 600 facilities in 130 countries, outgoing chief executive Lew Platt has said.

News.com's Jeff Pelline contributed to this report.