Logicalis is forking out £8.65m to acquire the UK's largest IBM Cognos reseller Inca Software as it makes a play for the business analytics market.
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Under the terms of the deal, Inca parent Avisen will receive £6m on completion of the sale expected on 1 April, £1.3m payable over the following 12 months, and the assumption of net liabilities of £1.35m.
Talking to MicroScope, Logicalis UK managing director Tom Kelly confirmed it planned to sell analytics as part of its cloud services.
"Businesses are generating immense amounts of data but need to glean intelligence from that, we see the whole area of business analytics as a natural fit for the cloud," he said.
"The word I want everyone in our business to remember is relevance; we have got to prove our relevance to customers and partners and only those that can do this will succeed in the market," he added.
Interim results for the six months ended 31 July 2010 show Inca made a pre-tax profit of £300,000 on the back of £4.36m in sales.
Kelly confirmed that circa 60 staff at Inca will transfer to Logicalis upon completion with the brand to be maintained for the next 12 months at least.
Along with Emerging Markets, Smarter Planet and Cloud Computing, Analytics forms part of Big Blue's key market priorities, with 1,000 partners worldwide driving 95% of its sales to the mid-market.
At its PartnerWorld conference in February, IBM unveiled sales, technical and marketing programmes to design, build, market and deploy new analystics products through its Innovation Centres.
IDC forecast the business analytics software space to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% between 2009 to 2014.
"After three decades of existence, the business analytics market is finally reaching the mainstream market and gaining status as a formal management discipline," said IDC's Dan Vesset, programme VP for Business Analytics Solutions research.
Avisen acquired Inca in a £3.5m share-based deal in July 2009, months after buying Eon Enterprises, which itself owned another IBM Cognos player Infocube.
In March 2010, Avisen then acquired investment vehicle Xploite, run by serial entrepreneur Ian Smith, but just months later he quit as executive chairman following a boardroom bust up over future direction.
In a statement, Marcus Hanke, chief executive at AIM-isted Avisen, said the sale price represents 62% of Avisen's current market cap, and will use the cash to invest in the group and may seek "complimentary acquisitions".