IBM Buys Unica for $480M, Moves Deeper Into Marketing and E-Commerce

8/13/10Follow @gthuang

It’s one of New England’s biggest tech acquisitions of the year. Waltham, MA-based Unica Corporation (NASDAQ: UNCA) announced today it is being bought by IBM (NYSE: IBM) for about $480 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Unica makes marketing and Web analytics software for big companies and other organizations. The company says the acquisition will expand IBM’s ability to help organizations analyze and predict customer preferences and develop more targeted marketing campaigns. Unica’s 500 employees will become part of IBM’s Software Solutions Group and will move into IBM’s new Mass Lab—the firm’s largest software development lab in North America, which just opened a couple of months ago.

The acquisition makes a lot of sense for Big Blue, which has had an increasing focus on helping companies do marketing, sales, e-commerce, and fulfillment more efficiently. IBM also has recently acquired AT&T’s Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics in this sector. Interestingly, Unica is IBM’s 16th acquisition of a Massachusetts-based company since 2003. (In that time, IBM says, it has acquired more than 65 software companies in total.)

Unica was founded in 1992 and has some 1,500 global customers across many industries, including financial services, insurance, retail, telecommunications, travel, and hospitality. Its big customers include Best Buy, eBay, ING, Monster, Starwood, and US Cellular.

“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, Unica’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “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.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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