Centerbridge acquires IBM Marketing & Commerce Suite

Centerbridge acquires IBM Marketing & Commerce Suite. After the surprise announcement on 4th April 2019 that IBM are selling their remaining Marketing & Commerce offerings, Purple Square take a deeper look at what this means for the market.

The buyer is one Centerbridge L.P. (a private equity organisation), who intend to launch a standalone company that aims to meet the CMO’s biggest challenges across marketing and advertising. The Company will be led by Mark Simpson as CEO, currently Vice President, Offering Management and Strategy for the IBM Marketing Platform and Commerce offerings.

It is our view that this transaction will be extremely positive for the technology and its clients. We are looking forward to supporting the future vision and to ensuring our clients’ needs are both heard and met as we have always done.

“Business Partners have always played an essential role in representing the voice of the customer and through their deep product knowledge Purple Square have been a significant, long standing IBM partner” says Mr Simpson.   

What’s actually been acquired?

In the Watson Marketing space, we have:

  • Campaign Automation (formerly known as Silverpop)
  • Customer Experience Analytics (CXA)
  • Universal Behaviour Exchange (UBX)
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Media Optimizer
  • Content Hub
  • Real-Time Personalization (RTP)
  • Personalized Search

While in the Commerce space, the applications affected are Intelligent Bidder, Price & Promotion Optimization & Payments Gateway.

What does this mean?

Since this announcement follows on the heels of HCLs announcement in December to acquire the ‘on-premise’ marketing capabilities (formerly known as Unica), it is clear that IBM are moving away from the marketing and commerce spaces, and given the record breaking ($34bn) acquisition of open-source software giant Red Hat last year, it’s not difficult to imagine why.

You only have to look at Mark Simpsons history to see why this is actually very exciting news. Mark was previously the founder and president of Maxymiser, a recognized leader in customer experience optimization prior to its high profile acquisition by Oracle, and he’s been at IBM since Nov 2016 fronting Offering Management and strategy, so two things are clear;

Firstly, he’s very good at this, and secondly, he cares about this software, enough to front a private equity buy-out.

A great many organisations will use a combination of elements of the software being sold to HCL, and those now being sold to Centerbridge, so the divestiture to two separate companies could be a cause for concern for some in terms of integration.

Not so. Both Unica & Silverpop even prior to their acquisition by Big Blue had extremely broad integration capabilities, being able to send & receive data as needed. Neither HCL, nor the new Centerbridge entity will be doing anything to upset the status quo as far as connectivity and integration are concerned.

What happens next?

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2019, subject to completion of the usual rounds of regulatory reviews.

As mentioned, it’s our view that this transaction will be very positive for both the technology and the clients. Alongside the move for Unica to HCL, the greater focus by the separate organisations on their respective marketing & commerce technologies will enhance the platforms and drive even greater functional improvements.

The full details of the announcement can be found here

Should you have any questions concerning the news, or wish to find out more about any of the IBM/HCL/Centerbridge marketing technologies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

By: Timothy Biddiscombe Managing Director (EMEA)