IBM has agreed to pay $1.2 billion ($50 per share, a 42% premium) for SPSS, a Chicago-based analytics software and solutions provider. It was only last month that IBM came forward with plans to incorporate technology licensed from SPSS in future versions of its business intelligence and performance management tools.

SPSS focuses on predictive analytics tools that help companies gather historical business data to chart exploitable trends. The purchase is expected to strengthen IBMís information-agenda initiative, which helps companies turn information into a strategic asset. This move follows Mayís acquisition of data discovery technology from Exeros, and the buyout of business intelligence software developer Cognos last January.

SPSS and the rest will fit in perfectly with IBMís newly created Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting division. IBM will continue to pour resources into the products of SPSS as a part of its Information Management software portfolio following the dealís close, which is expected by the end of this year.