John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

And in the Cage to Your Left Is ‘Lonesome Cognos,’ Last of the Great Business-Intelligence Software Vendors

“The business-intelligence space is undergoing massive changes. Oracle’s acquisition of Hyperion was the first domino to fall. SAP’s deal with Business Objects is the second one. Now the question is, which will be the next domino to fall,” Gartner VP Andreas Bitterer asked last month. Answer: Cognos.

In a year during which Hyperion was bought by Oracle, and Cartesis and ALG Software acquired by Business Objects, which is itself being purchased by SAP, Cognos was the last of the independent business-intelligence software vendors and a particularly attractive acquisition target (IDC estimates the market for business intelligence is worth about $6.3 billion in worldwide software revenue).

No surprise then to hear that IBM has made a $4.9 billion bid for Ottawa-based Cognos. Big Blue will pay $58 a share in cash for the company–a 9.5% premium over its Nov. 9 closing price–which it plans to fold into its Information Management Software division.

Steve Mills, head of IBM’s software group, insists the company’s bid isn’t a knee-jerk response to the recent flurry of acquisitions in the business-intelligence space. “We never do acquisitions on defensive moves or based on what others are doing,” he said.

But it’s tough to take him at his word when the premium IBM’s paying for Cognos suggests there may have been a bit of a bidding war for the company. “Cognos was the last large publicly traded BI player out there,” said Paradigm Capital analyst Gabriel Leung. “The space is growing well. It was a defensive play by IBM. They’d looked around at what Oracle and SAP were doing.”