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By Reuters

IBM said Wednesday it will beef up its business services by purchasing Ireland’s Equitant, which caters to companies looking to outsource their financial administration.

IBM, which has made a series of acquisitions recently as it seeks to build up the IT services it offers to corporate clients, gave no financial details of the deal.

“We consider this to be right in the fair market value of these kind of purchases,” Donniel Schulman, a senior executive at IBM Business Consulting Services, told Reuters.

He added that the buy is about revenue growth rather than cost savings and was more likely to lead to job growth rather than cuts at Equitant.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval. “This is fitting in very similarly with other acquisitions we’ve made in the business-outsourcing space,” Schulman said.

Big Blue plans similar buys in the future, he added: “The outsourcing market is growing so quickly that, in order to keep up, we are always looking for new things in this area.”

Dublin-based Equitant–whose 200 staff manage about $57 billion (44 billion euros) in revenues for clients–provides order-to-cash services that streamline the process from ordering a product through to final payment for it.

Currently majority owned by private investment company Accretive Technology Partners, Equitant has been working with IBM in a marketing partnership for the last year.

Ireland’s Competition Authority said in October that it had blocked IBM’s proposed acquisition of Schlumberger Business Services, saying that it would have left companies needing business recovery services without sufficient alternatives.

Story Copyright © 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.