NEWS5 October 2009

Done deal – IBM completes $1bn takeover of SPSS

M&A North America

US— IBM completed its acquisition of SPSS on Friday after shareholders in the MR software and analytics firm approved the $1.2bn deal.

SPSS’s statistical, data collection, modelling and analytics packages will be integrated into IBM’s information management software portfolio, while IBM said the deal will bolster the range of offerings available through its business analytics and optimisation consulting organisation.

In a statement the company said: “The addition of SPSS will help IBM deliver market-leading, comprehensive predictive analytics capabilities including data collection for market research and feedback management, text and data mining, advanced statistical analysis and predictive solutions.”

The acquisition deal was agreed in July after a six-month courtship which saw two lower-priced bids from IBM rejected by the SPSS board of directors.

Questions were raised initially about whether the $50-a-share price tag was the best deal for shareholders as SPSS’s agreement with IBM precluded it from seeking alternative proposals. But the market showed itself to be content with the deal from the off, with the share price remaining just below the bid price throughout.

IBM’s offer is also thought to have helped bring about a resolution to a trademark dispute between SPSS and Norman Nie, who co-founded the business in 1975. The legal wrangle began last year when Nie refused a $10 offer from the company to buy the rights to its name, which he still held. SPSS asked a judge to rule on its right to continue to use the trademark after failing to reach an agreement and in response Nie countersued SPSS for damages, alleging trademark infringement.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.