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Computer Associates announced plans on Thursday to buy network service management software firm Concord Communications in a deal valued at $350m. CA is offering to pay $330m in cash for Concord and to assume approximately $20m in net debt from its acquisition target.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory go-ahead and the approval of Concord's shareholders, is technology driven. CA hopes Concord's eHealth technology, which provides proactive network performance management and predictive capacity planning, will help it grow its share of the systems management market. It also has high hopes to make a killing from selling Concord's service management technology to telcos.

CA hopes to wrap up the deal by the middle of August and integrate Concord's operations into CA's newly created Enterprise Systems Management Business Unit, integrating Concord's technology with its flagship Unicentre systems management software. CA said it hopes to retain the majority of Concord's 640 workers. The acquisition is expected to be neutral in fiscal 2006 and slightly accretive in fiscal 2007, the company said.

Via the deal, CA is beefing up the networking capabilities of its systems management software in a move that recalls the heady days of the naughty nineties when it acquired a slew of firms. A long running accounting scandal and the dot com crash slowed down (but didn't stop) this acquisition trail. ®

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