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IBM seals deal for US$480m

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NEW YORK – IBM Corp. has agreed to buy Unica Corp., a marketing services company, for US$480 million, or US$21 per share.The acquisition brings IBM deeper into the advertising business, a relatively new area for the company. In June the Armonk, N.Y., company agreed to buy Coremetrics Inc., a company that helps target online marketing.It also expands IBM’s software business, its most profitable division and the main focus of a US$20 billion acquisition spree for IBM over the past few years.Unica, based in Waltham, Mass., offers software that automates the process of predicting customer preferences, designing advertising campaigns based on that information and measuring how effective they are.Heightened demand
The rise of the Web as an advertising platform has heightened demand for marketing that has a measurable impact. And IBM wants to provide the tools for doing that kind of targeting, Craig Hayman, IBM’s general manager for Industry Solutions, said in an interview. “Unica brings science to the search for better outcomes,” Hayman said.Unica generates annual revenue of more than US$100 million and has more than 1,500 clients, including Best Buy Co. and eBay Inc. In the previous fiscal year, which ended September 2009, it booked a net loss of nearly US$22 million but has since posted three profitable quarters in a row as businesses restore marketing budgets coming out of the recession. (AP)