IBM buying data storage company Netezza for about $1.7 billion

By Andrew Vanacore, AP
Monday, September 20, 2010

IBM buying Netezza for about $1.7 billion

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

Netezza’s software and hardware systems are designed to help companies use data about their businesses to make strategic decisions.

The personnel department of a company, for instance, could use tools provided by Netessa to figure out how their employee salaries stack up against the industry average.

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

Netezza shares climbed above the offered price in pre-market trading, rising $3.15, or 12.8 percent, to $27.75. IBM shares slipped 25 cents to $129.94.

Netezza, which is based in Marlborough, Mass., with about 500 employees, lists Neiman Marcus, Time Warner Inc. and Virgin Media Inc. among its customers.

The technology Netezza provides is referred to as “analytics,” an area where IBM said it has made 23 acquisitions totaling $12 billion over the past four years.

IBM, which is based in Armonk, N.Y., predicts analytics will be one of its main sources of growth over the next few years, estimating the total annual market at roughly $100 billion in software, hardware and services revenue.

Big tech providers 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 $2.07 billion. Then last week, HP said it would also buy the network security company ArcSight Inc. for $1.5 billion, branching into an industry where IBM has also made acquisitions over the past few years.

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