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IBM Buys Management Software Firm

It also expands a deal with Texas.


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will add another company to its software arsenal, saying Tuesday that it is buying privately held Vallent, which makes network management software for wireless firms.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement is expected to close in the first quarter of the calendar year.

Vallent's software monitors and reports problems like dropped calls and bottlenecks for wireless companies. The acquisition will help IBM customers offer end-to-end services through wireline, wireless, IP and mobile network infrastructures, and manage their networks while they add new services or upgrade their infrastructures.

Based in Bellevue, Wash., Vallent will be integrated into IBM's Tivoli unit in the software group.

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Big Blue shares were recently off 30 cents to $91.15.

In a separate announcement Tuesday, IBM said that it has signed seven-year contract valued at $863 million with the Texas Department of Information Resources for data center services.

The new contract, which replaces and expands an existing contract for data services in effect since 1996, includes three optional one-year extensions. According to IBM, the agreement will save Texas $25 million in 2008-2009 and $159 million over the base contract period.

Additionally, IBM, working through subcontractor


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, will establish a new data center in Austin.