Tibco said it will acquire Spotfire, an analytics company whose tools have focused on heavily on rich internet front ends that are friendly to business analysts as opposed to developers. Tibco has made an all-cash offer of $195m, and it expects the deal to close in the third quarter.
Unlike general-purpose BI market leaders like Business Objects and Cognos, Spotfire has focused more on developing analytic apps for public sector, pharmaceutical, semiconductor and energy firms. Significantly, it is just starting to crack financial services, the market where Tibco made its name.
Think of iTunes, Google Maps, and Second Life, said Christopher Ahlberg, CEO of Spotfire, getting a bit carried away when describing the user experience of the company’s web apps.
Spotfire has been around for about a decade, having built up a $40m to $50m business that is currently growing at about a 20% to 30% annual rate. It’s built up a base of around 800 customers worldwide, with 60% of them in North America. Rather than compete head-on with major BI providers, it has carved out a niche in enhanced vertical applications that use Ajax-style web front ends.
Tibco expects the deal will be dilutive by about 1 penny a share in fiscal 2007, and to be 2 cents accretive in fiscal 2008.
Tibco plans to absorb the 200-person company as a separate business unit, with CEO Ahlberg reporting to Tibco’s CEO and chairman Vivek Ranadive.
Tibco is taking another step towards converging business intelligence with real-time event processing and business process management (BPM). Just last week, it announced the second release of BusinessEvents, which was its first foray into converging data integration with real-time business intelligence. Release 2 of BusinessEvents upgraded support of multiple instances, a new simulation capability for prospective rules changes, and a new capability to embed the complex event processor in other applications.
Spotfire itself has been around for awhile. Overshadowed by the household names, the advent of Web 2.0 gave the company a chance to find its groove to the tune off 20%+ annual growth. While Tibco’s early plans are to sync this in a closed loop with its BPM offerings, in the longer run, we’d be surprised if it didn’t try grafting the analytics onto its real-time message bus.