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IBM Acquires Emptoris Analytics

IBM said it has inked a deal to buy out Emptoris, a Burlington, Mass.-based developer of software that helps businesses improve the efficiency of their procurement and supply chain operations through the application on business analytics tools. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Emptoris offers a number of products and services that are designed to make procurement and supply chain operations, as well as other key back office functions, smarter and more efficient. Its portfolio includes analytics software for spend analysis, contract management, supplier lifecycle management and supply-chain optimization.

Business users can deploy the company's products on internal servers or access them as hosted, or cloud-based, services. Emptoris' roster of 350 customers includes industry heavyweights like ADP, Delta, McKesson and Motorola. Emptoris should complement products and technologies that IBM gained through its $1.4 billion acquisition of AT&T's Sterling Commerce Unit in 2010.

"IBM is continuing to deliver innovative solutions to help organizations put the customer at the center of their business operations," said Craig Hayman, general manager of Industry Solutions for IBM, in a statement. "Procurement is being asked to show how it can deliver value to the organization. Adding Emptoris strengthens the comprehensive capabilities we deliver and enables IBM to meet the specific needs of chief procurement officers."

Having established itself as a leader in the market for infrastructure software, IBM is now branching out into application-like products in an effort to maintain growth. Just last week, the company announced that it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire DemandTec, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of cloud-based applications for retailers and marketers. Under that agreement, IBM will pay $13.20 per share, or about $400 million, to purchase DemandTec outright.

DemandTec makes applications that are designed to give retailers more accurate insights into pricing, demand, inventory and other market conditions. IBM said it would add DemandTec's products and services to its Smarter Commerce group, which will also house Emptoris.

This year alone, IBM has announced or completed buyouts of five other software companies, including the $387 million acquisition, made public in September, of risk analysis specialist Algorithmics. Also since January, IBM has inked to deals to acquire Tririga, i2, Q1 Labs and private cloud developer Platform Computing.

IBM has said publicly that it plans to spend $20 billion on acquisitions by 2015. "I've got a long list of things I'm interested in," said IBM software chief Steve Mills, in a recent interview with InformationWeek. IBM shares were off 1.57%, to 184.54, in midday trading Dec. 16.

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