IBM’s Acquisitions: Big One Makes News, Small One Points to Further Moves

IBM today announced two acquisitions. The larger one, IBM’s all-cash offer to buy predictive-analytics mainstay SPPS for $1.2 billion ($50 per share), drew the bulk of media attention, as it should.

The offer price represented a 42-percent premium to SPSS’s Monday closing price, and the company’s shares rallied today to close the gap.

However, the smaller acquisition might signal another big IBM move in a different market sector. In tandem with its SPSS acquisition announcement, IBM said it has purchased privately held Ounce Labs for an undisclosed amount.

Ounce Labs provides security and compliance software that scans source code of applications, hunting for security holes and compliance failures. In doing so, the software helps companies identify and solve code-related compliance and security problems early, resulting in lower costs, less risk, and fewer worries.

As CNET’s Lance Whitney reports, IBM will integrate Waltham, Mass.-based Ounce Labs into its Rational software business, which offers security and compliance testing. When the integration is complete, IBM believes the combination of the two companies will enable its customers to enjoy security analysis from source code to deployment.

Both organically and through acquisitions, IBM is constructing an increasingly credible security portfolio. It would not be a surprise to see IBM make a bigger security buy in the near future.

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