February 1, 2013 – IBM said Friday that it has reached an agreement to buy the software portfolio of Star Analytics, marking its first deal of 2013 amid whispers of other acquisitions of bigger targets.

Based in Redwood, California, Star Analytics provides software for automation of data integration and migration of analytic source data.

IBM Business Analytics division GM Leslie J. Rechan said in a statement that biggest potential in the proposed acquisition is Star’s capabilities to tap into data that enterprises already have stored in financial applications. In a letter on its website, Star Analytics CEO wrote that the vendor’s portfolio and employees will join IBM’s Financial Performance Management solutions, under its Business Analytics Software Group. Star Analytics already has built-in integration with IBM’s Information Warehouse.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and IBM anticipates it will close in the first quarter of this year.

IBM finds itself looking for deals after sales increased just 0.8 percent in four years, the worst rate since the period that ended in 2002, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Investors have taken notice, with its shares lagging in 2012 behind those of rivals Oracle and SAP by the most in at least nine years, the data shows. Its most recent acquisition was the December buyout deal for e-discovery and governance provider StoredIQ.

The company, with a market value of $229 billion, has identified areas for expansion through the end of 2015. Outside of Friday’s announced deal, some experts had expected to hear that IBM made an M&A splash with a larger vendor. Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. sees NetApp, which has almost doubled revenue since 2008, strengthening IBM’s standing in cloud storage. Splunk, which has rallied almost twofold since its initial public offering last year, would help IBM meet a goal of growing in data analytics, according to Credit Agricole SA. Royal Bank of Canada says Imperva would bolster its position in security products.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.