Splunk outperforms after analyst predicts major deal with IBM

Shares of Splunk  (SPLK) are rising in Friday morning trading after Northland opined that the "Big Data" software products company and tech giant IBM  (IBM) may be close to a meaningful partnership.

WHAT'S NEW: Northland analyst Tim Klasell heard from a "few industry sources" that Splunk and IBM are "moving closer together" and could agree to a meaningful partnership over time. The analyst told investors in a research note that IBM is getting close to a "big move to improve its ties" with Splunk. While Klasell did not know the financial details, he believes such a partnership could be a "nice tailwind" for Splunk to sign larger deals. The analyst has an Outperform rating on Splunk with an $80 price target.

WHAT'S NOTABLE: IBM, which reported earnings on January 19, said on its quarterly conference call that it was making "significant progress" in transitioning to a cloud company. "In 2015, our strategic imperatives of cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security grew 26% to $29B and now represent 35% of our total revenue," said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. "As we transform to a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, we are well positioned to continue delivering greater value to our clients and returning capital to our shareholders." Two days after IBM's fourth quarter earnings report, on January 21, the company acquired Ustream, a provider of cloud-based live video streaming services, in a move designed to extend the IBM Cloud platform to help enterprise clients unlock the value of video. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PRICE ACTION: Shares of Splunk are higher by 2.9% to $49.88 in Friday morning trading, while shares of IBM are down fractionally.

Reporting by Eric Buscemi.

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