Cognos sells

Cognos agrees to a US$5-billion Cognos-logo.JPGbuyout offer from IBM. If approved by shareholders, the deal will see the Ottawa-based business intelligence software firm subsumed by Big Blue’s growing management software division. “This is an exciting combination for our customers, partners, and employees. It provides us with the ability to expand our vision as the leading BI and performance management provider,” says Cognos chief executive Rob Ashe, who will lead IBM’s management solutions group. “IBM is a perfect complement to our strategy, with minimal overlap in products, a broad range of technology synergies, and the resources, reach, and world-class services to accelerate this vision.” The agreement puts an end to months of speculation about Cognos’s future in a market that has been subject to increasing consolidation. For its part, Cognos did little to quell the takeover talk. Saying only that it would entertain any attractive offer, the company watched from the sidelines as Oracle paid US$3.3 billion for rival enterprise solutions maker Hyperion Solutions Corp. last February and Germany-based SAP bought France’s Business Objects for US$7 billion in October. Cognos is the latest in a string of acquisitions in support of IBM’s initiative, announced in Feb. 2006, to consolidate its information integration, content and data management business. “Customers are demanding complete solutions, not piece parts, to enable real-time decision making,” says Steve Mills, SVP of IBM’s software group. “[Acquiring] Cognos positions us well for the changing business intelligence and performance management industry.” Nothing much is yet known about IBM’s plans for Cognos’s 4,000 employees or its Ottawa headquarters. Asked about the future of the company’s local workforce of 1,600, Mr. Ashe said only that that the merger will create some redundancies, but that IBM intends to expand Cognos’s operations in the capital, as well as globally.

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