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IBM In Software, Services Buys

Big Blue completes SPSS takeover and announces deal for mortgage processor Wilshire.

IBM said it completed its buyout of SPSS Inc., a Chicago-based developer of software that helps companies predict demand, market opportunities, pricing trends, and other business conditions.

Also Monday, IBM announced plans to acquire the mortgage processing business of Wilshire Credit Corp from Bank of America. Financial terms were not revealed.

IBM paid $50 per share, or about $1.2 billion, to snap up SPSS. The move is in keeping with Big Blue's ongoing campaign to transform itself into a vendor of high-margin software and services products. The company has made 27 acquisitions in the business intelligence and analytics segment to date. In 2007 IBM bought out Canadian BI vendor Cognos for $4.9 billion.

Meanwhile, IBM in recent years has sold off its PC and printing businesses, as well as other low-margin hardware lines.

IBM said it would add SPSS's operations to its Information on Demand software unit, which specializes in providing tools that help businesses extract and interpret data from internal and external sources in order to aid decision making. The unit is headed by IBM veteran Ambuj Goyal.

SPSS's customers include Credit Suisse, British Telecom, New York University, and HSBC Bank USA. Industry watcher IDC believes the market for business analytics software is on pace to grow 4% in 2009, to $25 billion.

Separately, IBM said it reached an agreement to buyout Wilshire Credit, which provides BPO services to financial institutions in the mortgage lending sector and was owned by Bank of America. IBM will take on about 900 Wilshire employees, the company said.

IBM shares were higher by .28% in afternoon trading Monday, to $119.35.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on how predictive analytics, real-time monitoring, and the speed of in-memory technology are changing the value proposition of business intelligence. Download the report here (registration required).

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