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Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 10 News List

IBM agrees to buy Netezza to expand ‘anayltics’ growth

AP , NEW YORK

IBM Corp said on Monday it has agreed to pay US$1.7 billion for Netezza Corp, a company that helps businesses sort through data on corporate servers.

The deal would help IBM expand in an area known as “analytics,” where the company sees a major source of growth over the next few years. IBM expects to grow annual revenue from analytics services, software and hardware sales to US$16 billion by 2015, up from US$9 billion last year. It estimates the total annual market now amounts to roughly US$100 billion.

IBM has been pushing into the analytics business through acquisitions. The company says it has spent US$12 billion on 23 separate analytics companies over the past four years. Its biggest takeover last year was a US$1.2 billion deal for SPSS Inc, a company that makes analytics software for predicting future trends.

Netezza’s software and hardware systems are designed to help companies use data about their businesses to make strategic decisions. The British TV, Internet and phone service provider Virgin Media Inc uses the technology to quickly assess how price changes or tariffs are affecting sales.

Netezza, which is based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, with about 500 employees, also lists Neiman Marcus, Time Warner Inc and NYSE Euronext Inc among its customers.

IBM is offering US$27 per share for Netezza, a 10 percent premium over Friday’s closing share price of US$24.60.

In midday trading on Monday, Netezza shares had risen US$3.05 from Friday to trade at US$27.65, above the offering price. That could signal that investors are expecting a competing bid.

IBM shares rose US$1.29 to US$131.48.

Big tech manufacturers have been snapping up smaller companies as they compete with one another to broaden the types of products and services they offer corporate clients.

Earlier this month computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co topped Dell Inc in a bidding war for data storage company 3Par Inc, eventually paying US$2.07 billion. Then last week, HP said it would also buy the network security company ArcSight Inc for US$1.5 billion, branching into an industry where IBM has also made acquisitions over the past few years.

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