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IBM Spins Off PLM Unit To Dassault

$600 million deal sees Big Blue transfer Product Lifecycle Management assets to industry partner.

IBM said Tuesday that it reached a deal to sell its Product Lifecycle Management operations to French software maker Dassault Systemes for about $600 million.

The deal culminates a partnership under which IBM and Dassault combined forces in the PLM software market, with IBM providing sales and marketing support for Dassault's PLM products. IBM said it would continue to work with Dassault by providing services around the latter's PLM offerings. Dassault also becomes an IBM Global Alliance partner.

Manufacturers use PLM software to manage the conception, design, production, and delivery of their products. The arrangement calls for 700 IBM employees to join Dassault, which also inherits 1,000 IBM PLM accounts. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2010.

IBM officials said the pact will strengthen their company's concentration on PLM-related services.

"This transaction also helps IBM focus on PLM integration through middleware, business transformation and application services, and dynamic infrastructure," said Tom Hawk, general manager for IBM's Global Industrial Sector.

The agreement gives Dassault a more unified presence in the PLM market, company executives said.

"The adoption and integration of PLM and 3D collaboration by a growing number of enterprises require deep industry knowledge," said Dassault president and CEO Bernard Charles, in a statement.

"Looking forward, the wide adoption of 3D lifelike experience and PLM will require the combination of direct sales, our network of partners, and online communities," said Charles.

Dassault's line of PLM software includes the Catia, Simulia, Delmia, and Enovia brands. Customers include Renault, Airbus, and Procter & Gamble.

IBM shares were off .10% to $119.99 in early trading Tuesday.

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