NEWS28 July 2009

IBM to acquire survey and analytics software firm SPSS for $1.2bn

M&A North America Technology

US— IBM is to acquire survey and predictive analytics software provider SPSS in an all-cash deal worth $1.2bn.

‘Big Blue’ is offering $50-a-share for the company, which sells a range of data collection, statistical and modelling software packages to research agencies, educational institutions, government bodies and commercial firms.

The deal is subject to approval by SPSS shareholders, applicable regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to complete later in the second half of 2009.

Speaking on a conference call today, SPSS chief executive Jack Noonan (pictured) described the acquisition as “a transformative event” – one that he believes will accelerate the adoption of predictive analytics.

SPSS will become part of the information management division within IBM’s software group business. Ambuj Goyal, general manager of IBM Information Management, said: “With this acquisition, we are extending our capabilities around a new level of analytics that not only provides clients with greater insight – but true foresight.”

Research firm IDC estimates that the worldwide market for business analytics software will grow to $25 billion this year, an increase of 4% over 2008.

SPSS’s revenue was up 4% to $302.9m last year, with operating income down 1% to $49m and net income up 7% to $36m.

The firm is due to report its second quarter 2009 results soon. In Q1 revenue was down 8% to $72.1m while net income was up 4% to $9.4m.

Shares in the company were trading at $49.30 at the time of publication – a rise of 40% on yesterday’s closing price.

Jeff Goldberg, a senior analyst with Boston-based financial research and consulting firm Celent, said IBM’s bid for SPSS fits “a current trend in the business analytics space of focusing on actionable intelligence”.

Goldberg explains: “Several high profile acquisitions in the last two years have paired up large software and services organizations such as IBM, SAP, and Oracle with high-value data analytics companies.

“These acquisitions have shifted the value pitched to customers from the ability to better mine data to a more complex, services-based ability to act upon reports and subsequently alter the course of the business. This message allows a company like IBM to sell both software systems as well as high-value ongoing professional services.”