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IBM to buy Cognos for $5 billion

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - IBM (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Monday that it would buy Canadian business intelligence software company Cognos Inc (CSN.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) (COGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for $5 billion, following a wave of acquisitions in the industry.

Investors had expected the deal, which represents a 9.5 percent premium to Cognos's closing U.S. share price on Friday, after SAP AG's (SAPG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) offer for rival Business Objects (BOBJ.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) in October and Oracle Corp's (ORCL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) purchase of Hyperion Solutions Corp earlier this year.

All three targets make software that analyzes businesses by combing through vast amounts of data.

International Business Machines Corp said it had signed a definitive agreement to buy Cognos for $58 a share, compared with its Friday Nasdaq close of $52.98. The shares rose to $57 in premarket trading on Monday.

IBM said the all-cash deal was subject to shareholder approval and should close in the first quarter of 2008.

SAP's bid of 4.8 billion euros ($6.8 billion) for Business Objects had sparked speculation in the market that Cognos would become an acquisition target. It and MicroStrategy Inc (MSTR.O: Quote, Profile, Research) were seen as the most attractive takeover candidates in that space.

Investors have long speculated that the most likely buyer for Ottawa-based Cognos is IBM because of their existing business partnership.

(Reporting by Tiffany Wu; editing by John Wallace/Lisa Von Ahn)

Copyright 2007 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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