International Business Machines Corporation
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  • Tue, Feb. 2, 10:39 AM
    • Five days after announcing it's acquiring Columbus-based online ad agency Resource/Ammirati, IBM (IBM -1.4%) says it's acquiring Aperto, a Berlin-based online ad agency whose client list includes Airbus, Volkswagen, and Siemens. Terms are once more undisclosed.
    • Like Resource/Ammirati, Aperto has 300+ employees and will join IBM's Interactive Experience (iX) digital agency unit (has over 10K employees). IBM, which has made a series of software and services-related acquisition to help benefit from rising online ad spend and a shift in IT spending towards CMOs: "Demand for [ad] experience design is expected to accelerate as clients in all industries seek to deliver more consumer-like experiences to their customers and employees, and integrate the power of cognitive computing and analytics platforms."
    • The moves follow a Q4 in which Big Blue's Global Tech Services and Global Business Services revenue respectively fell 7.1% and 9.9% Y/Y to $8.1B and $4.3B. Both forex and the impact of cloud services adoption on on-premise IT services spend weighed.
    • 14 months ago: IBM expands alliance with ad giant WPP
    • Recent IBM acquisitions
    | Tue, Feb. 2, 10:39 AM | 6 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 28, 6:02 PM
    • In its first purchase of an online ad creative agency, IBM is acquiring Resource/Ammirati, a Columbus-based firm declared to be "one of the top, digitally-led creative agencies in the US." Terms are once more undisclosed.
    • IBM: "The acquisition of Resource/Ammirati supports IBM's goal of helping clients digitally reinvent to create transformative brand experiences. Recognized for the groundbreaking technology and analytics capabilities of Watson , IBM has over 1,000 designers working with strategists, developers and consultants to combine the power of design and technology for clients."
    • Resource/Ammirati has 300+ associates and a client list that includes Sherwin Williams, Nestle, and Nationwide. The company will join IBM Interactive Experience (IBM iX), a unit containing over 10K employees and proclaimed by Big Blue to be the world's biggest global digital agency.
    • IBM rival Accenture has made several digital agency acquisitions in recent years. IBM's recent digital marketing efforts have included a partnership with Facebook to help Facebook clients improve ad targeting, as well as the purchase of marketing automation software firm Silverpop.
    • Recent IBM acquisitions
    | Thu, Jan. 28, 6:02 PM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 25, 9:38 AM
    • Citing higher deal risk and weakening NAND fundamentals, CLSA's Mark Heller has downgraded SanDisk (SNDK -1.6%) to Underperform, and cut his target by $16 to $70.
    • Heller doesn't think weakening fundamentals will unravel Western Digital's (WDC -2.2%) pending cash/stock acquisition of SanDisk, but is worried about the potential for Tsinghua Unigroup subsidiary Unispendour to walk away from its deal to buy a 15% stake in Western for $92.50/share (107% above Western's Friday close).
    • If Unisplendour was to walk away, Heller sees Western shareholders deciding on the SanDisk deal. The deal calls for Western to pay $85.10 in cash and issue 0.0176 shares for each SanDisk share provided the Unisplendour investment has closed prior to the acquisition. If it hasn't, the cash payout drops to $67.50, and the stock payout rises to 0.2387 shares. SanDisk currently trades below $67; deal closing has been forecast to occur in calendar Q3.
    • Separately, Western has announced the purchase of over 100 IBM "patent assets" related to distributed storage, object storage, and non-volatile memory, as well as a cross-licensing deal with the IT giant; terms are undisclosed. Western says the purchase will augment an existing portfolio of 10K+ patents and patent applications.
    • SanDisk's Q4 report arrives on Wednesday. Western's FQ2 report is due on Thursday.
    | Mon, Jan. 25, 9:38 AM
  • Thu, Jan. 21, 11:12 AM
    • Less than 24 hours after Fortune reported IBM (IBM +1.7%) is in talks to buy live video streaming/delivery platform Ustream, IBM has confirmed the deal. As usual for IBM acquisitions, terms are undisclosed.
    • IBM: "[Ustream] streams live and on-demand video to about 80 million viewers per month for customers such as NASA, Samsung, Facebook, Nike and The Discovery Channel ... IBM will deliver a powerful portfolio of video services that spans open API development, digital and visual analytics, simplified management and consistent delivery across global industries." The company also talks up the Ustream Development Platform (lets clients create custom video apps) and Ustream's social sentiment analytics services (used to gauge audience reactions to streams).
    • Assets from Ustream will be added to a new Cloud Video Services unit that also features assets from recently-acquired Clearleap (provides video streaming, encoding, management, and monetization services), technologies obtained from the acquisitions of Cleversafe (object storage systems) and Aspera (high-speed file transfer software), and "IBM R&D innovations."
    • The Ustream and Clearleap purchases follow public cloud rival Amazon's purchase of major video encoding/delivery software and services provider Elemental Technologies. Brightcove (BCOV +0.7%) is a notable independent player in the video streaming/monetization space.
    • With the help of higher markets (the S&P is up 1.1%), IBM is bouncing a day after falling sharply in the wake of its Q4 report and light 2016 guidance.
    • Prior IBM coverage
    • Update: Bloomberg and the WSJ report IBM paid $130M for Ustream. Fortune previously reported of an acquisition price of $130M in cash + earn-out and retention payments.
    | Thu, Jan. 21, 11:12 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 3:26 PM
    • Three months ago, IBM (IBM -4.6%) fell towards $140 after providing a 2015 EPS guidance cut to go with mixed Q3 results. Today, shares are almost $20 lower as markets react to the light 2016 guidance - EPS of "at least" $13.50, free cash flow of ~$11B-$12B vs. 2015's $13.1B - issued with Big Blue's slight Q4 beat. The S&P is down 0.5%, and the Nasdaq up 0.5%.
    • Plenty of analyst have (unsurprisingly) cut their targets, but none have downgraded. Aside from forex pressures (expected to hurt 2016 EPS by over $1 as hedges roll off), plenty of concerns have been voiced about IBM's software ops, which were responsible for 46% of the company's 2015 segment op. profit ($9.1B out of $19.7B) and have been hurt by weak deal activity among top-250 clients.
    • Jefferies' James Kisner (Underperform, $110 target) argues IBM still faces a tough transition as on-premise software and IT services demand continues to be pressured by SaaS/cloud adoption. He also estimates Q4 EPS would've been $4.54 (below a $4.81 consensus) if not for a lower tax rate, and states services signings of $16.7B fell short of a $19.1B consensus.
    • RBC's Amit Daryanani (Neutral, $135 target): "Based on tepid EPS/[free cash flow] guide and continued software declines, and System-Z entering the end of the mainframe cycle, we continue to stand on the sidelines." Drexel Hamilton's Brian White (Buy, $160 target) remains bullish, calling EPS guidance conservative and talking up IBM's 4.1% dividend yield.
    • Separately, Fortune reports IBM is in advanced talks to buy Ustream, a provider of live video streaming, transcoding, and delivery services for businesses, for $130M in cash + possible earn-out/retention payments. The report follows IBM's December acquisition of cloud video infrastructure service provider Clearleap, which the company plans to integrate with its existing cloud offerings.
    • Fortune notes IBM and Ustream are already partners, with Ustream's offerings already integrated with IBM's Bluemix cloud app development platform. The startup's customers include Sony and NASA.
    • Prior IBM coverage, earnings call transcript
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 3:26 PM | 20 Comments
  • 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
  • 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. 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
  • 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. 15, 2015, 2:52 PM
    • VMware (VMW +0.7%) is buying Boxer, a developer of enterprise e-mail/task management apps for iOS and Android, for an undisclosed sum.
    • Boxer will be integrated with VMware's AirWatch enterprise mobility management platform (EMM - manages devices and apps). VMware exec Noah Wasmer: "The Boxer team ... has developed a mature personal information management (PIM) solution for enterprises that offers a container approach to mobile application management and security. Boxer ... supports market leading productivity, enterprise and social networking solutions including Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Gmail ... Imagine, your apps and your data – seamlessly working together with one unified identity and NO logins or configurations – consumer simple, enterprise secure."
    • For its part, EMM rival Microsoft has bought e-mail app developer Accompli (its products now underpin the Outlook mobile apps), calendar app maker Sunrise, and to-do list app maker 6Wunderkinder.
    • Separately, VMware and IBM have announced a partnership to make it easier to move workloads running on VMware's vSphere server virtualization platform to IBM's SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure. VMware's NSX network virtualization/SDN software can be used to enable the global migration of live workloads, and its VSAN storage virtualization software to provide integrated storage management. VMware and IBM have common cloud rivals in Amazon and Microsoft.
    | Oct. 15, 2015, 2:52 PM | 3 Comments
  • Oct. 5, 2015, 2:11 PM
    • Acquisition-hungry IBM's (IBM +3.1%) latest target is Cleversafe, a provider of object storage systems and software. As usual, terms are undisclosed.
    • Object storage, widely adopted and supported by cloud service providers (many enterprises also use it), requires less overhead for storing content such as documents, photos, and videos, and thus offers better scalability than traditional file and block-based storage systems; it's also easily accessible via HTTP. On the downside, it's less suitable for databases and other frequently-changing content. Amazon's S3 service (over 2T objects stored) is an example of a popular cloud object storage service.
    • Cleversafe was founded in 2004, and has over 350 patents. Its platform uses proprietary software and algorithms to encrypt, distribute, and retrieve objects stored on commodity hardware, potentially across multiple locations. Clients include photo site Shutterfly and U.K. pay-TV provider Sky. EMC's Atmos object storage business is a rival.
    • IBM's storage hardware revenue fell 10% Y/Y in Q2, and IDC estimates the company's external disk storage share fell to 11.1% from 12.1% a year earlier; both flash/hybrid storage upstarts and contract manufacturers selling to cloud providers have been gaining share. In February, IBM promised to invest over $1B in storage software over the next 5 years.
    • Shares are rallying on a day the Nasdaq is up 1.4%, and the S&P 1.6%.
    • Recent IBM acquisitions
    | Oct. 5, 2015, 2:11 PM | 6 Comments
  • Sep. 28, 2015, 4:45 PM
    • IBM is buying Meteorix, a provider of consulting and implementation services for companies looking to deploy Workday's cloud HR and financials apps. Terms are undisclosed.
    • "The planned acquisition of Meteorix can make IBM one of the leading, most qualified and experienced Workday service providers in the world," says an IBM exec. Workday, which has been taking share from on-premise software alternatives, has an FY16 (ends in January) revenue consensus of $1.16B, and an FY17 consensus of $1.59B. Its clients include a number of U.S. multinationals. Meteorix has 200+ Workday consultants.
    • Big Blue had 2014 "cloud revenue" of $7B. However, that figure includes sales of hardware, software, and services used to enable cloud deployments, and which often came at the expense of on-premise sales. The company's "cloud delivered as a service" revenue was on a $4.5B/year run rate as of Q2.
    • Recent IBM acquisitions: StrongLoop, Merge Healthcare, Blue Box
    | Sep. 28, 2015, 4:45 PM | 13 Comments
  • Sep. 10, 2015, 12:05 PM
    • StrongLoop provides software tools for creating and managing APIs for apps using the open-source and increasingly popular Node.js runtime environment (used to create server-based Web apps written in JavaScript). IBM (IBM +0.7%) is buying the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • Big Blue plans to integrate StrongLoop's products with its WebSphere middleware/app server line, as well as with its Bluemix cloud app development platform. IBM: "Combining StrongLoop's tools and services with IBM's WebSphere and Java capabilities, IBM will help clients bridge Java and Node.js development platforms ... Through integration on IBM Bluemix, these Java and Node.js communities will also have access today to many other IBM and third-party services including access to Mobile Services, data analytics and Watson."
    • Back in March, IBM bought A.I./deep learning API provider AlchemyAPI. The company's middleware revenue (covers the WebSphere, Rational, and Tivoli lines, among other products) fell 7% Y/Y in Q2.
    • Separately, IBM's Watson Health unit (launched in April) has announced partnerships with drugmaker Teva and healthcare R&D outsourcing firm ICON. Both tie-ups involve using the Watson Health Cloud analytics platform to derive insights from large volumes of healthcare-related data.
    • Update: Some more Watson Health news: IBM has named Deborah DiSanzo, formerly the CEO of Philips Healthcare, Watson Health's general manager. Big Blue also says it's opening a Watson Health HQ in Cambridge, MA that will house 700+ employees.
    | Sep. 10, 2015, 12:05 PM | 2 Comments
  • Aug. 6, 2015, 9:38 AM
    • IBM is buying Merge Healthcare (NASDAQ:MRGE), a top provider of software for managing and processing medical images, for $1B in cash after factoring net debt, or $7.13/share. The price represents a 32% premium to Merge's Wednesday close. The deal is expected to close later this year.
    • Merge's software is said to be "used at more than 7,500 U.S. healthcare sites, as well as most of the world's leading clinical research institutes and pharmaceutical firms." IBM plans to integrate Merge with its recently-launched Watson Health unit, with the goal of providing image analytics that leverage Watson's A.I./deep learning technology.
    • Big Blue: "IBM plans to leverage the Watson Health Cloud to analyze and cross-reference medical images against a deep trove of lab results, electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies and other health-related data sources, already representing 315 billion data points and 90 million unique records.  Merge's clients could compare new medical images with a patient's image history as well as populations of similar patients to detect changes and anomalies."
    • In April, when Watson Health was launched, IBM announced it's buying cloud patient data analysis software firm Phytel and clinical database/healthcare analytics app provider Explorys. The company also announced healthcare-related partnerships with Apple, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson.
    | Aug. 6, 2015, 9:38 AM | 7 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.