December 15, 2011 – IBM announced an agreement to acquire supply chain software provider Emptoris, the second deal in a week to expand the portfolio of its marketing and retail Smarter Commerce initiative.

Emptoris provides spend management solutions for retail information sourcing and contracts, as well as retail analytics solutions on-premise and in the cloud. IBM stated the importance that Emptoris’ offerings would play in the area of automated vendor selection, negotiation, management and compliance in the retail space. In addition, IBM noted that spend management solutions from Emptoris complement Big Blue’s acquisition last year of Sterling Commerce.

IBM plans to put Emptoris’ under its growing Smarter Commerce portfolio, which it launched in March. Last week, IBM announced its most recent transaction in that retail-centered space, a proposal of $440 million for cloud and on-premise retail analytics and marketing provider DemandTec.

George Lawrie, application development and delivery analyst with Forrester Research, says the proposed deal for Emptoris falls in line with IBM’s emerging cross-channel retail industry and business-to-customer initiatives, in a similar way to its recent deal for marketing applications provider Unica. Lawrie says the deal for Emptoris gives IBM additional order tracking and analysis offerings, and works to address the changing landscape for retailers.

“To service more fragmented markets with short life, merchandise retailers need to overhaul their merchandising and supply chain apps,” Lawrie says. “IBM’s acquisition of Emptoris boosts its ability to help retailers source and manage contracts in a world of more volatile supplier relationships and short lifecycle merchandise.”

Emptoris was founded in 1999 in Burlington, Massachusetts, and has more than 350 customers worldwide, according to its website. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is subject to closing conditions, and IBM anticipates the deal to be final in the first quarter of 2012, according to a news release.

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