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Big Blue blows a billion on predictive software seller

Didn't see that one coming

IBM is paying $1.2bn for SPSS, which sells business intelligence and predictive analysis software.

Making better use of historical company information is nothing new, but SPSS claims to be able to use this information to create "actionable foresight".

The firm started life in 1968 and currently employs 1,200 people in 60 countries. It claims to have a quarter of a million customers.

IBM reassured existing customers that it will continue to support existing products, while better integrating them into other IBM products. In the longer term, IBM hopes the acquisition will boost its own analytics business.

IBM is paying $50 a share - a decent premium, because SPSS has been trading at between $30 and $35 since April.

The deal needs shareholder and regulator approval, but should close in the second half of 2009.

Full statement is here.

SPSS stands for the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences - the first product from the company founders while they were at Stanford University. ®

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