International Business Machines Corporation
 (IBM)

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  • Fri, Jan. 15, 9:45 AM
    • Continuing its analytics-related acquisition spree, IBM (IBM -2%) has bought IRIS Analytics, a German provider of software for detecting payment fraud in real-time, investigating fraud cases, and modeling/simulating a company's response to a fraud event. Terms are undisclosed.
    • IBM: "IRIS provides a real-time fraud analytics engine that leverages machine learning to generate rapid anti-fraud models while also supporting the creation and modification of ad-hoc models, proven successful on various sized payment platforms ... IRIS serves to bridge the gap between expert-driven rules and traditional predictive modeling by applying artificial intelligence and cognitive techniques to partner with human experts in suggesting best fit analytics interactively, while testing and deploying models with real production data, as it happens and without downtime."
    • Big Blue adds IRIS is used by "leading banks and payment processors throughout the world," and allows fraud countermeasures to be deployed faster than existing techniques relying on "black box" models. The purchase follows IBM's 2013 acquisition of malware-protection software firm Trusteer (used by many top banks), and its 2011 purchase of security analytics firm i2 (used by law enforcement agencies and companies to detect illicit activity within operational log data).
    • IBM is lower on a morning the S&P is down 2.3%, and the Nasdaq 2.7%. Q4 results arrive on Tuesday afternoon.
    • Recent IBM acquisitions
    | Fri, Jan. 15, 9:45 AM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 9:03 AM
    • December monthly performance was: -1.18%
    • AUM of $580M
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -1%
    • $0.10 in dividends were paid in December
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 11/30/2015: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 4.98%, Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 4.49%, Apple Inc (AAPL): 4.18%, Altria Group Inc (MO): 3.37%, McDonald's Corp (MCD): 2.94%, PepsiCo Inc (PEP): 2.93%, Home Depot Inc (HD): 2.4%, Intel Corp (INTC): 2.31%, International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 2.02%, AbbVie Inc (ABBV): 1.96%
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 9:03 AM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 7:03 PM
    • Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) could make a bid for storage array vendor NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) and threat-prevention hardware/software provider FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) in 2016, thinks FBR's Dan Ives. Cisco/NetApp speculation has been around for a while. Meanwhile, Cisco has made several security acquisitions in recent years, and appears to be up for more, but has also launched products that compete with FireEye.
    • Ives also thinks IBM could bid for machine/log data analytics software leader Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) and business intelligence/data visualization software firm QLIK. With a $7.6B market cap and high multiples, Splunk would be a costlier acquisition than IBM's traditional fare.
    • HP Enterprise (NYSE:HPE), meanwhile, is seen as a potential suitor for both Qlik and enterprise cloud storage/file-sharing leader BOX. And Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) a potential buyer of cloud ERP, HR, and e-commerce software firm NetSuite (NYSE:N). Larry Ellison owns a large stake in NetSuite (more SMB-focused than Oracle), and the company both competes and partners with Oracle.
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which has made plenty of acquisitions in the Satya Nadella era, is seen as a potential buyer of database security software and Web app firewall vendor Imperva (NYSE:IMPV), as well as of cloud vulnerability management and compliance software firm Qualys (NASDAQ:QLYS). Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), which has signaled it will make security acquisitions after the sale of its Veritas unit closes, is considered a possible acquirer of e-mail/compliance security software provider Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT).
    • Yesterday: FBR sees improving cybersecurity spend, likes several stocks
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 7:03 PM | 13 Comments
  • Dec. 29, 2015, 4:59 AM
    • Two of the world's largest technology firms, IBM and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), are vying to tap the fast-growing market for forecasting air quality in China.
    • Bouts of smog enveloping Beijing already prompted authorities to declare two unprecedented "red alerts" this month, and while prediction technology won't be able to make the air better, it could be a step toward helping the city's 22M people to live with it.
    • IBM and Microsoft's advances in "cognitive computing" can provide predictions for the air quality index up to 10 days in advance using data on weather, traffic and factory use.
    | Dec. 29, 2015, 4:59 AM | 26 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2015, 12:41 PM
    • Box's (BOX +0.1%) partnership with IBM (first announced in June) has been expanded to feature "stronger go-to-market and sales commitments." In addition, the deal's lifespan now "has the potential to last for a decade or more."
    • Box integration is now provided for IBM's Case Manager and Datacap (image information extraction) software. Box and IBM previously announced Box would be integrated with Big Blue's content management, enterprise social networking, and records management/e-discovery software, as well as with the cloud-based Watson Analytics platform and IBM's MobileFirst iOS apps.
    • The IBM expansion follows a deal to tightly integrate Box's platform with Salesforce's cloud CRM apps and App Cloud platform.
    | Dec. 18, 2015, 12:41 PM | 10 Comments
  • Dec. 17, 2015, 4:50 PM
    • As part of a deal declared to be an expansion of the companies' "long-term strategic relationship," AT&T (NYSE:T) is "transitioning" its managed app and managed hosting services unit to IBM. Big Blue will also acquire equipment and floor space access in AT&T data centers supporting the business. (Press Release)
    • Once the deal closes, IBM will deliver the manged app/hosting services currently provided by AT&T. The offerings will be "aligned" with IBM's cloud services portfolio.
    • No details have been given yet about the deal's revenue impact, or about how much (if any) money is changing hands. It follows a Q3 in which IBM's global tech services revenue fell 10% Y/Y to $7.9B, and its global business services revenue 13% to $4.2B, amid cloud and forex pressures. The company is already a notable player in the managed app and hosting markets; its SoftLayer unit participates in the latter.
    • Within its Business Solutions segment, AT&T's fixed strategic services revenue (has included hosting, Ethernet, cloud, VPN, and security services) rose 12.6% Y/Y in Q3 to $2.76B. That helped offset an 8.7% drop in legacy voice/data service revenue to $4.5B.
    | Dec. 17, 2015, 4:50 PM | 20 Comments
  • Dec. 8, 2015, 3:18 PM
    • It's been a rough run for value stocks over the past few years, but the metric used to determine value - price/book - may not be the right one, says Citi's Robert Buckland. Free-cash-flow yield is better, he argues. noting this metric tracked traditional value in the 1990s and 2000s, but has easily outperformed over the past decade.
    • It's a sign of the times, he says, as FCF is a "capex-suspicious metric," and investors are concerned about the economic outlook, and cynical about capital allocation decisions of managements.
    • The list of 28 U.S. value (as defined by FCF yield) plays: BHI, VIAB, WFM, ANTM, HPQ, ABC, LBTYA, M, AAPL, CTL, XRX, LYB, CMI, ETN, MRK, VLO, CSCO, WRK, IBM, LVS, ESRX, IP, CAH, ADM, INTC, CAT, ABBV, EMN
    | Dec. 8, 2015, 3:18 PM | 48 Comments
  • Dec. 8, 2015, 10:30 AM
    • Clearleap provides a cloud-based platform for encoding, streaming, managing, and monetizing video content to clients such as HBO, A+E Networks, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and BBC America.  Acquisition-hungry IBM (IBM -1.3%) has bought the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • Big Blue will integrate Clearleap with its existing cloud offerings "to provide enterprises with a fast and easy way to manage, monetize and grow user video experiences and deliver them securely over the Web and mobile devices" It adds Clearleap's open API framework allows video to be easily embedded into applications, as well as be integrated with existing workflows and analytics software.
    • Clearleap's services will be offered via IBM data centers, and its APIs added to IBM's Bluemix cloud app platform (PaaS) in 2016. The acquisition follows the October purchase of Cleversafe, whose object storage hardware and software is often used to handle video storage.
    • Other recent IBM acquisitions
    | Dec. 8, 2015, 10:30 AM | 15 Comments
  • Dec. 1, 2015, 9:27 AM
    • November monthly performance was: +0.59%
    • AUM of $607M
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -1%
    • $0.06 in dividends were paid in November
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 10/30/2015: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 5.02%, Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 4.33%, Apple Inc (AAPL): 4.2%, Altria Group Inc (MO): 3.52%, PepsiCo Inc (PEP): 2.97%, McDonald's Corp (MCD): 2.88%, Intel Corp (INTC): 2.24%, Home Depot Inc (HD): 2.2%, International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 2.03%, AbbVie Inc (ABBV): 2.0%
    | Dec. 1, 2015, 9:27 AM
  • Nov. 19, 2015, 3:29 PM
    • Germany's WirtschaftsWoche reports (quoting an IBM union rep) IBM (IBM +0.8%) is thinking of laying off up to 3K German workers, or 18% of its local workforce, over the next two years.
    • A German trade union believes 2,500 of the layoffs are "relatively fixed," with another 500 possible if conditions deteriorate. 1,000-1,200 of the layoffs are expected to come from IBM's slumping consulting and outsourcing ops, which have been pressured by (among other things) cloud services adoption.
    • Big Blue had a global headcount of 379,592 at the end of 2014, down by over 51K from a year earlier. 38K of the lost jobs stemmed from asset sales such as Lenovo's purchase of IBM's x86 server unit. SG&A spend was down 10.4% Y/Y in Q3 due to job cuts, asset sales, and forex, and R&D spend down 4.9%.
    | Nov. 19, 2015, 3:29 PM | 23 Comments
  • Nov. 16, 2015, 3:40 PM
    • IBM (IBM +1.5%) is partnering with FPGA chipmaker Xilinx (XLNX +1%) to provide servers based on its OpenPower platform (uses IBM Power CPUs, features servers from both IBM and third parties) in which Xilinx FPGAs power programmable accelerators for workloads such as high-performance computing (HPC), analytics, machine learning, and genomics.
    • As part of the tie-up, IBM will create "solution stacks" consisting of Power-based server, storage, and middleware systems using Xilinx acceerators, and also develop and qualify Xilinx accelerator cards for Power-based systems. The alliance comes as Intel, whose Xeon CPUs have been steadily taking share from IBM's Power line, gets set to acquire Xilinx archrival Altera, with plans to offer integrated CPU/FPGA solutions for workload acceleration. In addition to IBM, Xilinx has partnered with Qualcomm, one of several chipmakers going after the budding ARM server CPU market.
    • Also: 1) IBM claims using Power servers featuring Nvidia's (NASDAQ:NVDA) Tesla K80 GPU-based accelerators can deliver up to a 70% performance boost for certain Watson APIs, and increase its processing power up to 10x. 2) OEMs E4 Computer Engineering and Penguin Computing have unveiled new OpenPower servers. They run on IBM's high-end Power8 CPU and feature Tesla accelerators.
    • The announcements come amid the supercomputer industry's SC15 conference. The first OpenPower servers became available earlier this year, via Taiwanese OEM Tyan. IBM's Power systems revenue fell 3% Y/Y in Q3, a smaller decline than in many recent quarters.
    | Nov. 16, 2015, 3:40 PM | 17 Comments
  • Nov. 4, 2015, 1:49 PM
    • "Oh yeah, I love Amazon (AMZN +2.7%). Because they're investing in their future. [Jeff] Bezos is a serial monopolist," said famed hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller at a Tuesday conference talk.
    • Druckenmiller, who has been bearish on IBM for some time: "The last 19 quarters, Amazon has missed their quarterly earnings nine times. They don't give a damn ... IBM has missed three quarters since 2006. They really care about their quarterly earnings." (10-year chart of Amazon and IBM)
    • He also once more praised AWS, which had revenue of $6.9B (+65% Y/Y) over the 12 months ending in September. "If you're starting a business today, you don't need a tech department, you don't need a back office, you can use AWS. By the way, it's just ripping to shreds the 10 or 15 consultants from IBM ... that you used to need, but you don't need because now you go into cloud."
    • Amazon has made fresh highs. Shares are up 14% since the company's Oct. 22 Q3 beat, and up 107% YTD.
    | Nov. 4, 2015, 1:49 PM | 37 Comments
  • Nov. 3, 2015, 1:48 PM
    • Gravitant provides software that helps enterprises compare and analyze the cloud services offerings of various providers, and subsequently purchase and manage/monitor those services. IBM (IBM +1.6%) has bought the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • IBM exec Martin Jetter, whose company has been selling enterprises on adopting its SoftLayer, Watson Analytics, and Bluemix cloud platforms (among others): "The reality of enterprise IT is that it is many clouds with many characteristics, whether they be economic, capacity or security. Gravitant provides an innovative approach to add choice and simplicity to how enterprises can now manage their environments." Gravitant will be integrated with IBM's Global Tech Services unit, and also with its SaaS (cloud app) lineup.
    • The purchase follows last week's deal to buy The Weather Company's digital assets (reportedly for $2B+). Other 2015 cloud-related acquisitions include Workday service provider Meteorix and OpenStack managed cloud service provider Blue Box.
    | Nov. 3, 2015, 1:48 PM | 10 Comments
  • Oct. 28, 2015, 10:40 AM
    • Confirming yesterday evening's WSJ report, IBM (IBM +2.2%) states it's buying The Weather Company's B2B, mobile, and cloud-based Web properties, including Weather.com and Weather Underground, Terms are undisclosed; the WSJ reported of a $2B+ purchase price.
    • IBM suggests the value of The Weather Co.'s cloud data platform goes well beyond weather, and will bolster both its Watson Cloud platform and a new Watson IoT unit that will provide A.I.-driven analytics services for data produced by Web-connected embedded devices.
    • IBM: "The Weather Company's cloud-based data platform will allow IBM to collect an even larger variety and higher velocity of global data sets, store them, analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform ... The Weather Company's mobile and web properties handle seven times the volume of the world's leading search engine, while serving 82 million unique monthly visitors ... [The platform] can ingest a wide range of data at massive speed and scale, supporting an incredible volume of queries at very low latency."
    • At the same time, IBM argues weather-related analytics is a major opportunity by itself, given weather's impact on global GDP. It notes The Weather Co.'s models "analyze data from three billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones, and 50,000 airplane flights per day," helping it service "more than 5,000 clients in the media, aviation, energy, insurance and government industries."
    • In August, IBM struck a $1B deal to buy medical imaging software firm Merge Healthcare, with plans to integrate merge with its new Watson Health unit and deliver image analytics services. An IoT-related analytics partnership was formed with CPU core giant ARM in September.
    • Shares are recovering some of the Tuesday losses seen following an SEC probe disclosure.
    • Update: Forrester's Ted Schadler offers some thoughts on IBM's motivations for making the deal. "[B]usinesses need insights services injected into their real-time processes and applications. TWC gives IBM a hugely valuable and differentiated source of data and insights that it can pre-integrate with other major sources, including Twitter sentiment insights and Box's document market. By pre-integrating these data, building predictive and cognitive models on them, and blending them with your data, IBM is in a position to deliver differentiated insights services."
    | Oct. 28, 2015, 10:40 AM | 30 Comments
  • Oct. 27, 2015, 8:28 PM
    • IBM is nearing a deal in excess of $2B to acquire the digital and data assets of The Weather Co., owner of the Weather Channel, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • The company -- owned in part by NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) along with Bain Capital and Blackstone (NYSE:BX) -- started hiring banks to seek a buyer in August for a deal it hoped would hit $3B. The company's digital bits were widely considered to be the most valuable.
    • IBM has a particular interest in the company's forecasting group, WSI, the WSJ says -- a unit that's chock full of tech and weather data that the Weather Co. licenses to various businesses.
    • The deal would reportedly come with Weather Co. CEO David Kenny, who would join IBM.
    • A $2B deal would be a discount over the company's 2008 sale price, valued at $3.5B. IBM shares fell 4.1% today.
    • Previously: IBM eyes digital assets of The Weather Company (Oct. 19 2015)
    • Previously: Weather Channel hires banks to explore sale for up to $3B (Aug. 20 2015)
    | Oct. 27, 2015, 8:28 PM | 51 Comments
  • Oct. 27, 2015, 2:16 PM
    • Buried within IBM's just-filed Q3 10-Q: "In August 2015, IBM learned that the SEC is conducting an investigation relating to revenue recognition with respect to the accounting treatment of certain transactions in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland. The company is cooperating with the SEC in this matter."
    • IBM has already been cooperating with the SEC and other agencies on corruption-related probes. The SEC ended an investigation into IBM's cloud revenue reporting last year.
    • Shares have sold off following Big Blue's disclosure.
    • Earlier: IBM adds $4B to buyback, declares quarterly dividend
    | Oct. 27, 2015, 2:16 PM | 27 Comments
Company Description
International Business Machines Corp is an Information Technology (IT) company. It creates business value for clients and solves business problems through integrated solutions that leverage information technology & knowledge of business processes.