Adobe has agreed to buy Web analytics company Omniture for US$1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) in cash, the companies revealed Tuesday.

The price Adobe is paying for the company, which is $21.50 per share, is at a 45 per cent premium over Omniture's average closing price for the last 30 trading days, Adobe said. On a conference call Thursday, executives wouldn't say if there was a bidding war with other companies to buy Omniture.

Adobe said the purchase will help the company add Web analytics and optimization capabilities directly to its Web design and development products, which include Flash and Dreamweaver.

This kind of ability to measure what kinds of media, Web applications or Web pages are popular with users is becoming essential as more and more business is being done on the Web, particularly in the area of online advertising, said Forrester senior analyst John Lovett. He said a recent Forrester study found that 73 per cent of companies doing business on the Web had some kind of analytics technology in place.

"It's a ubiquitous technology that is in high demand at companies that are placing any parts of their business online," he said.

For designers, developers and online marketers using its tools, this new capability will help them streamline how they create and deliver relevant content and applications, Adobe said. Advertisers, advertising agencies, publishers and online retailers can improve the experience of their end users and get more out of their digital media through the new analytical capability, the company said.

On a conference call Tuesday, Adobe CEO and president Shantanu Narayen said that the idea for a merger grew out of conversations with Omniture's CEO, Josh James, and with customers who wanted more out of the digital media they were creating using Adobe's products.