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Netezza Share Spike Signals Bidding War

IBM may not be the only tech conglomerate with eyes for the suddenly hot data appliance vendor.

Shares of Netezza were higher Wednesday on speculation the company will receive a counter offer to IBM's $1.7 billion deal to buy out the data warehousing specialist.

Netezza shares were up 1%, to $28.20 in midday trading, 4.4% higher than IBM's $27 per share offer. IBM announced Monday that it had reached an agreement to acquire Netezza. But the price tag was seen by some as conservative for Netezza, which saw revenues increase 45% in its most recent quarter.

Other possible suitors include Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and Microsoft, according to industry watchers.

It's not clear if IBM would raise its price for Netezza should a bidding war erupt. Company officials have said they plan to leverage Netezza's presence in the data appliance market to deliver a broader set of business intelligence offerings.

"The addition of Netezza will reinforce IBM's focus in understanding client's needs by providing them a broader set of analytics capabilities and bringing the power of analytics right into the hands of business users at every level within an organization," said Arvind Krishna, IBM's general manager for Information management.

IBM pegs the overall market opportunity in business analytics at $100 billion and said its cut should reach about $16 billion by 2015.

Netezza went public in 2007, and quickly made a name for itself by developing data warehouse appliances that combine hardware, software, and business intelligence tools in a single box. Its list of high-profile customers includes AOL Advertising, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, British Sky Broadcasting Group, and the Marriott hotel group.

The company counts about 500 employees.

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