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3/3/2011
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Teradata To Buy Aster Data For $263 Million

Acquiring the 89% of Aster Data Systems it doesn't already own, expands the company's data analysis capabilities to social networks and other Web communities.

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Teradata is acquiring Aster Data Systems for $263 million in cash, bringing what's expected to be a new level of customer behavior analysis to Teradata's data warehouse appliance.

Teradata said Thursday that it expects to complete the acquisition in the second quarter of the year. The company already owns 11% of Aster Data, so the $263 million is for the remaining ownership interest.

Aster Data technology quickly gathers information from clusters of servers that power a company's Web-facing systems. The data, such as Web logs and click streams, is stored in a database and analyzed to better understand customer behavior. Aster Data's customers include bookseller Barnes & Noble, social network LinkedIn, and online gaming company Zynga.

Teradata announced the acquisition three months after purchasing Aprimo for $525 million. Aprimo specializes in so-called "integrated marketing management," a fast-growing $5 billion business, according to industry estimates. IMM is the ability to provide management and analysis capabilities across channels, such as Web sites, call centers, direct mail, and social networks; as well as across the full lifecycle of customer interactions, from outbound email and direct mail campaigns to customer satisfaction with product quality and support.

Teradata is banking on the Aprimo and Aster Data acquisitions to help it expand its share of the data warehouse market, which IDC estimates is 12%. "We are excited about the big data analytics market opportunity that Aster Data brings to Teradata," Mike Koehler, president and chief executive of Teradata, said in a statement. "This, coupled with our recent integrated marketing management acquisition with Aprimo, and our increased investments into our core data warehouse business -- provide three best-in-class platforms to fuel future growth for Teradata."

Both acquisitions are needed to keep Teradata growing against competitors with deeper pockets, including Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft, according to IDC analyst Dan Vesset. "It positions them well to take advantage of those opportunities in that unstructured, big data space," Vesset said. "A lot of end users are moving into that space."

The term "big data" loosely means all the information that comes from outside traditional business applications that drive procurement, sales, financials, customer relationship management, and other processes. With more business and customer interaction coming from the Web, companies have been gathering huge amounts of unstructured data outside the relational databases that support conventional business-running software from SAP, Oracle, and others.

Making sense of that unstructured data is what Aster and Aprimo do well, while Teradata's strength lies in analysis of structured data from business software. An example of Aster's unconventional analytics is the ability to look at data gathered from a Web community and determine who the influencers are. While that's an important discovery, it becomes even more important when a business can determine whether that influencer is also driving sales of its products. That can only be determined by combining technologies from companies like Aster and Teradata. "Together, that's a very powerful combination," Vesset said.

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