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IBM Acquires Marketing Automation Software Company Unica

The acquisition should go a long way to legitimize the marketing automation category

IBM and Unica Corporation today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for IBM to acquire Unica in a cash transaction at a price of $21 per share, or at a net price of approximately $480 million, after adjusting for cash.  A publicly held company in Waltham, Mass., Unica will expand IBM's ability to help organizations analyze and predict customer preferences and develop more targeted marketing campaigns.

The acquisition, which is subject to Unica shareholder approval, applicable regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010.

IBM to Acquire Unica Corporation for marketing automation and management.

Today's leading organizations place a high value on a consistent and relevant customer experience.  They must continuously focus on enhancing their brand by responding quickly to marketplace changes and differentiating themselves through more targeted, personalized marketing campaigns.  In order to achieve this, marketing professionals are increasingly investing in technology to automate and manage marketing planning and execution to help them better analyze customer preferences and trends and in turn, predict buying needs and drive relevant campaigns.

To meet this demand, IBM is assembling transformational capabilities to help clients create this consistent and relevant cross-channel brand experience to promote customer loyalty and satisfaction.  With sophisticated analytics and marketing process improvement, the combination of IBM and Unica will help clients streamline and integrate key processes including relationship marketing, online marketing and marketing operations.

Building on this extensive industry expertise, Unica has more than 1,500 global customers across a wide range of industries including financial services, insurance, retail telecommunications, travel and hospitality. Customers include Best Buy, eBay, ING, Monster, Starwood and US Cellular.

Today's news expands IBM's growing portfolio of industry software solutions designed to help companies automate, manage, and accelerate core business processes across marketing, demand generation, sales, order processing and fulfillment.  This acquisition along with IBM's recent acquisitions of Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics will enhance IBM's ability to support customers increasing demands in this growing market.

"IBM understands the demands on today's organizations to transform core business processes in functions such as marketing with intelligence and automation," said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM Industry Solutions.  "Unica was a clear choice for IBM based on its power to automate a broad set of marketing capabilities and its established reputation for delivering customer success in marketing to organizations around the world."

"Unica’s focus is to help our customers deliver marketing messages so relevant that they are perceived as a service to our clients' customers," said Yuchun Lee, CEO, Unica Corp.  "Together with IBM, we will bring our leading enterprise marketing management solutions to a wider set of customers worldwide and with a much broader, more comprehensive portfolio."

Unica's 500 employees will be integrated into IBM’s Software Solutions Group, which includes a range of industry-focused offerings.  Unica software will complement the capabilities of IBM's Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting organization - a team of 5,000 consultants and a network of analytics solution centers, backed by an overall investment of more than $11 billion in acquisitions in the last five years.

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More Stories By John Ryan

John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at john@johnwryan.com or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps

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