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IBM borgs UK 'big data' outfit

Big Blue echoes HP (The New Big Blue)

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IBM is to acquire the Cambridge, UK-based "big data" analytics outfit i2, echoing HP's $11bn purchase of Autonomy Corp. earlier this month.

This is Big Blue's twenty-fifth analytics acquisition in the last five years. It spent about $14bn on the previous 24, but terms of the i2 deal were not disclosed. According to The FT, the deal is valued at about $500m.

With more than 4,500 customers in 150 countries, i2 specializes in analytics related to crime- and fraud-prevention. Twenty-five of the 28 members of Nato use i2 software to analyze military intelligence. Twelve of the world's 20 largest retail banks and eight of the world's ten biggest companies are customers too, according to IBM.

"IBM’s goal is to better equip public safety officials and businesses with the information and tools they need to ensure safer cities,” read a canned statement from Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions at IBM. "The combined capabilities of IBM and i2 will help customers uncover patterns and trends that will allow them to more effectively protect the privacy and safety of citizens, businesses and governments."

i2 is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, but its 350 employees are also spread across offices in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Autonomy – the company HP has agreed to purchase as it drops out of the tablet and phone markets and potentially the PC business as well – also offers tools for analyzing vast amounts of unstructured data, and its headquarters are just down the road from i2 in Cambridge.

HP, you see, is turning itself in another IBM. Or maybe another Sun.

IBM's i2 deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, and when it does, i2 will be rolled into Big Blue's software group. ®

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