Spark buys marketing automation firm Ubiquity Software for undisclosed sum

Auckland-based Spark has signed a conditional agreement to buy Ubiquity.

Spark New Zealand has bought Auckland-based marketing automation firm Ubiquity Software for an undisclosed sum, saying it will help beef up data analytics unit Qrious.

Auckland-based Spark has signed a conditional agreement to buy Ubiquity, which provides automated marketing services over a software platform supported by in-house staff, the company said in a statement. The country's biggest telecommunications firm will use its Qrious data warehousing service to inform Ubiquity's marketing platform to "gain scale and critical mass significantly quicker than if Qrious was to develop this software capability on its own", it said.

Qrious, launched in 2014 as part of incubator Spark Ventures, is a data and analytics business owned by the telecommunications provider and claims 1.2 billion datapoints flow into its platform. Those sources include anonymised Spark mobile location data, Roy Morgan Helix Personas customer profiling and other datasets including census and weather.

"We've been increasingly confident about our emerging leadership in analytics and the potential of Qrious and we're backing that confidence by investing in the next stage of its growth," Spark chief executive Simon Moutter said. "We believe combining the powerful analytics capabilities of Qrious with the marketing solutions of Ubiquity and expanding Qrious into the data-driven marketing sector will unleash even more value for New Zealand businesses."

In its first-half result, Spark noted accelerating growth from Qrious's revenue and earnings, which it put down to "targeted business acquisition and (the) launch of new data-powered marketing and as-a-service product". Spark bought Clarity Information Management in August last year, which it later rolled into Qrious.

Ubiquity was incorporated 17 years ago and is owned by founder Nathalie Morris and chief technology officer Guy Bibby.

Spark shares last traded at $3.68 and have gained 8.4 percent so far this year.