IBM Buys Web Analytics Firm Coremetrics

Coremetrics, the heavily backed web analytics company, has been sold to IBM, which says it will add Coremetrics’ services to its business analytics offerings. Coremetrics, which had raised at least $111 million in funding had been frequently mentioned as an acquisition target; in September, Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal put the company on his list of top private internet companies most likely to be sold or to go public this year.

In addition to providing advanced online analytics to customers, including Bank of America and Holiday Inn, Coremetrics’ product suite also includes e-mail targeting and search engine marketing tools.

IBM and Coremetrics have deep ties. In fact, IBM sold its web analytics business to Coremetrics four years ago. In a blog post, (via Marketing Pilgrim) former IBM executive Mike Moran describes that sale as a rare mistake for IBM and describes the purchase as a smart move, especially in the wake of Adobe’s purchase of Coremetrics rival Omniture (NSDQ: OMTR) last fall:

“As IBM watched much of the market hand its data to Google (NSDQ: GOOG), and watched Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) siphon off another big chunk, they have no way of knowing how easily they will be able to tap into that data in the future. Buying Coremetrics assures them of a way that their clients can keep their data and allows IBM to analyze it for them.”

IBM says in a release that Coremetrics will become part of its “application and integration middleware portfolio which provides the backbone of transaction processing on the Web and powers many of the world’s leading retail sites.”

Coremetrics’ backers include Accel Partners, FTV Capital and Highland Capital partners. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.