Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Analytics company SPSS Inc to be acquired by IBM

IBM plans to buy technology services company SPSS Inc for about $1.2 billion in cash, the companies said on Tuesday.

SPSS shareholders will receive $50 a share, a 42% premium to Monday's closing price of $35.09 on Nasdaq.

Chicago-based SPSS provides predictive analytics software and services. Predictive analytics are used by companies to forecast future trends and spot shifts in consumer patterns, helping them control costs and use resources more wisely.

IBM said the deal will help expand its Information on Demand software portfolio and business analytics capabilities.

Shares of SPSS jumped 41 per cent in premarket trade to about $49.50. The shares had already enjoyed a gain of about 30 per cent this year.

The deal values SPSS at about 25 times analysts' estimated 2010 earnings per share, and the $50 per share price represents an all-time high for the stock, topping its previous all-time top of $47.87.

The deal is subject to SPSS shareholder approval and regulatory clearances, and is expected to close later in the second half of 2009, the companies said.

Separately, IBM said it has acquired closely-held Ounce Labs Inc, whose software helps companies reduce the risks and costs associated with security and compliance concerns. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Back in May, IBM's chief financial officer, Mark Loughridge, told the Reuters Technology Summit that the valuations of potential acquisition targets were attractive. IBM has spent $20 billion buying more than 100 companies since 2000, paying prices that range from as little as $50 million to as much as $5 billion.


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