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Computer Associates has announced plans to divest itself of a majority stake of its Ingres open-source database unit. Private equity firm Garnett & Helfrich Capital is financing the deal which will see it become the majority shareholder in Ingres Corp. CA will retain a minority stake in the new business and a seat on its board. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ingres Corp. will make a living selling consulting services to organisations that use Ingres database software, adopting a similar model for databases as Red Hat has applied in the world of operating systems. "We want to be the Red Hat of the database world," said Terry Garnett, managing director of Garnett & Helfrich Capital and interim chief exec of Ingres, told Reuters. According to CA, Ingres has more than 5,000 customers around the world. Even so the technology is far less widely deployed than MySQL, an open-source database alternative.

CA said the Ingres divestiture will allow it to focus on its core markets, including enterprise system and security management. It said the spin-off of Ingres will result in the move of 150 CA workers over to the new firm, Ingres Corp, but will have no material effect on CA's earnings.

Ingres began as an early relational database management system at the University of California, Berkeley 30 years ago. CA acquired the Ingres technology in 1994 as part of its purchase of the ASK Group. Last year, CA released the Ingres database to the open source community. ®

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