IBM's SPSS Buyout Gets Antitrust Nod - InformationWeek

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IBM's SPSS Buyout Gets Antitrust Nod

Government's window to investigate deal closes without DOJ action.

IBM's plan to acquire business software maker SPSS won't draw scrutiny from U.S. antitrust regulators.

The government's window to review the deal under the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust law expired without action from competition watchdogs at the Department of Justice, SPSS said in a statement Wednesday.

"The expiration of the waiting period satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the merger," SPSS said in a statement. The deal remains subject to shareholder approval and other closing conditions. IBM announced in July that it agreed to acquire SPSS Inc., a Chicago-based developer of software that helps companies predict demand environments , market opportunities, pricing trends, and other business conditions.

Under the plan, IBM is to pay $50 per share, or about $1.2 billion, to acquire SPSS. Big Blue previously said it expects to close the transaction by year's end.

The move is in keeping with IBM's ongoing campaign to transform itself into a vendor of high-margin software and services products while divesting low-margin hardware lines. The company has made 27 acquisitions in the business intelligence and analytics segment to date.

Industry watcher IDC believes the market for business analytics software is on pace to grow 4% in 2009, to $25 billion.

IBM intends to 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.

SPSS' customers include Credit Suisse, British Telecom, New York University, and HSBC Bank USA. SPSS shares closed flat in Wednesday trading.

Attend a Webcast on optimizing business performance by building a smarter enterprise, featuring author James Surowiecki and IBM chief marketing officer Jon Iwata. It happens Sept. 16. Find out more and register.

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