HNC Inc.'s decision to be acquired by Fair, Isaac & Co. Inc. surprised many industry observers, even though most agree that the two companies have complementary technologies. Indeed, some experts say the merged company, which will assume the Fair, Isaac name, will become a "dominant" provider of analytic and decision management products to financial services firms.In April, Fair, Isaac, based in San Rafael, Calif., agreed to acquire HNC in a stock deal that was valued at $810 million. Tom Grudnowski, Fair, Isaac's CEO, is slated to become chief executive of the merged company.

"The idea is to put two powerhouses together," says John Mutch, president and CEO of San Diego-based HNC. "The area of business analytics is growing, and the combination of Fair, Isaac and HNC puts us in an even better position to leverage this market opportunity."

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