IBM to buy analytics software vendor Netezza

Big Blue offers $1.7 billion in latest move to build analytics business

Big Blue seems pretty serious about this analytics thing.

The company's $1.7 billion purchase of Netezza announced Monday marks the 24th acquisition IBM has made in the analytics space over the past four years. Big Blue has now sunk more than $12 billion into a market it estimates to be worth $100 billion in revenue between software, hardware and services. IBM says its analytics business grew 14 percent in the second quarter.

IBM's offer of $27 per share is 10 percent above Netezza's closing price on Friday of $24.60. That premium offer prompted investors to push Netezza (NYSE: NZ) shares even higher in Monday morning trading, with the stock selling at $27.67. Shares of Big Blue (NYSE: IBM), meanwhile, were up 1 percent to $131.55 after dipping in pre-market trading.

Netezza's data warehousing analytics appliance is designed to help customers quickly locate relevant data on enterprise servers in order to make strategic business decisions in a number of areas, including sales, marketing, product development and human resources.

IBM and Netezza have been strategic partners for years, according to Big Blue, with Netezza designing and developing appliances to run on IBM technology.

"Netezza strongly complements our business analytics capabilities and client base. Together, we have the opportunity to quickly leverage the technology and accelerate the offering," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software and Systems.

Founded in 2000 and based in Marlborough, Mass., Netezza has about 500 employees around the world. Its list of more than 350 customers is impressive and includes AOL, Casual Male, CBS Interactive, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Foxwoods Resort, Guitar Center, Marriott and Neiman Marcus.

IBM said the acquisition, which is subject to Netezza shareholder approval and regulatory requirements, should be finalized by the end of the year. Once the deal is closed, Netezza will be integrated into IBM's Information Management software unit.

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