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Computer giant IBM said Friday that it has agreed to acquire privately-held Net Integration Technologies Inc (NIT) for an undisclosed sum.

The Toronto-based firm provides server software services for small businesses (SMB) that have limited inhouse technical resources. Once the deal completes, NIT will be integrated into IBM's Lotus Software division.

NIT's Nitix product line of Linux-based servers bundles together email based on OEM licensed Lotus Domino, file management, directory services, office software, backup and recovery, as well as other tools.

IBM Lotus Software general manager Michael D Rhodin described the buyout as a "terrific business opportunity" to drum up more trade among the SMB marketplace, where rival Microsoft already has a considerable foothold.

The deal, subject to the normal regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of this year. ®

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