IBM snaps up British big data specialist i2

IBM plans to acquire UK company i2, which specialises in analytics for crime and fraud analysis and detection.IBM hopes to pair its real-time analytics with i2's technologies to produce products for public sector authorities that want better tools to study security threats, IBM said in its announcement on Wednesday.

IBM plans to acquire UK company i2, which specialises in analytics for crime and fraud analysis and detection.

IBM hopes to pair its real-time analytics with i2's technologies to produce products for public sector authorities that want better tools to study security threats, IBM said in its announcement on Wednesday.

Cambridge-based i2 produces analytics software for the banking, defence, health care, security and insurance industries, among others. It has over 4,500 customers in 150 countries, IBM said.

"The combination of i2's products and IBM's advanced data collection and warehousing technologies will be compelling for clients seeking to enhance situational awareness and make connections between seemingly unrelated information from oceans of data," Robert Griffin, chief executive of i2, said in an IBM statement.

Besides Cambridge, i2 has offices in the US, Canada, and Australia, and it employs 350 people worldwide.

IBM believes analytics need to be made broadly available to businesses, Lawrence Trigwell, an executive in IBM's European business analytics unit, told ZDNet UK.

"[Companies] need to be able to exploit the analytic rigour in the core engine and not rely on expensive, one-off answers. We think it creates a competitive advantage where we can bring [analytics] in-house for [companies]," Trigwell said.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed and the companies were unable to say whether the acquisition could lead to job losses at i2, at the time of writing. The purchase is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval, IBM said.

Over the past five years IBM has invested over $14bn (£8.46bn) in 25 analytics-focused company acquisitions.

IBM's i2 move follows HP's August announcement that it plans to buy UK-based analytics specialist Autonomy for $7.1bn.