US computer giant IBM has agreed to buy business analytics software firm SPSS for $1.2 billion in cash.

The companies said the deal was expected to close in the second half of the year and was subject to the approval of SPSS shareholders and regulators.

IBM said the acquisition would expand its software portfolio and business analytics capabilities, which allow companies to better control costs and allocate resources through data capture, data mining and statistical analysis.

According to an IDC study cited in the statement, the worldwide market for business analytics software is expected to grow 4% from last year to $25 billion this year.

SPSS, founded in 1968, employs some 1,200 people and has more than 250,000 customers around the world. Its revenue grew 4% in 2008 to $303m.

IBM announced meanwhile that it has acquired Ounce Labs, a privately-held company based in Waltham, Massachusetts that makes software designed to help firms reduce the risks and costs associated with security and compliance. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.