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Acquisition fever building

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s $5.8 billion deal which has Sybase joining SAP in the battle against Oracle, comes news that IBM may be entering the acquisition fray.

According to an article at BusinessWeek [online edition], IBM is rolling out a plan to spend $20 billion on acquisitions by 2015. Speaking at an investor conference, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said the spending spree will focus on software and services additions that will boost operating income to at least $20 a share by 2015 (from $11.35 or so this year). IBM will set aside roughly $4 billion a year for acquisitions, CFO Mark Loughridge said at the same meeting.

According to the company, IBM will continue to invest in products and services that help customers be more efficient, such as technology layers and cloud computing. Apparently, IBM is also developing services to monitor highways, electrical grids and other infrastructure so they can “be run more efficiently”. This sounds suspiciously like the GIS offerings from ESRI, Intergraph, GE Smallworld and others and could signal possible acquisition targets — but this is pure speculation on my part.

What do you think? What will/should/could IBM buy? Let the speculation begin!

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