IBM to pay $1.2B for analytics developer SPSS

IBM has agreed to acquire SPSS Inc., a Chicago-based analytics software specialist, the companies announced today.

The two have come together quickly: Only last month, IBM announced plans to embed technology licensed from SPSS in future versions of its business intelligence and performance management tools. Now it plans to buy the whole company for $1.2 billion in cash.

SPSS specializes in predictive analytics tools that help companies mine historical business data to identify future trends that they can exploit for greater efficiency or profit. IBM thinks SPSS tools could be used to, for example, prevent crime, help financial services companies retain customers or help companies choose locations for a new stores or factories.

IBM is intent on expanding its business analytics capabilities. In May, it acquired the assets of data discovery software vendor Exeros Inc. for an undisclosed sum. And in January of last year it paid $5 billion for business intelligence software developer Cognos.

It also sees the sector as a rich source of consulting revenue: IBM Global Services recently created a Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting division, which the company expects will make use of products from Exeros and, now, SPSS.

IBM said that it will continue to support and enhance the SPSS products as part of its Information Management software portfolio after the deal closes. The companies expect to close the deal by the end of the year, subject to approval from regulators and SPSS shareholders.

In an unrelated deal, IBM also announced today that it will acquire Ounce Labs Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based maker of source code analysis tools, for an undisclosed sum. Ounce Labs develops software that analyzes the security of other software and suggests ways to improve it. IBM expects to incorporate the company's products into its Rational software quality division.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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