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BMC Snaps Up BladeLogic in Automation Push

BMC Software said on Monday it would buy BladeLogic for about $800 million, adding a line of programs that help boost automation within its customers' data centers.

BMC (NYSE:BMC) said it plans to pay $28 a share in cash, about a 19 percent premium to BladeLogic's (NASDAQ: BLOG) $23.61 closing price on Friday. BladeLogic shares rose 16 percent on Monday to $27.40.

In acquiring BladeLogic, BMC is beefing up its portfolio as it looks to win business away from Hewlett-Packard, which sells similar software through its purchase of Opsware.

BMC already sells a line of business service management (BSM) software for managing the computer systems of its customers, from mainframes to servers and PCs. Its programs perform what have become relatively routine tasks such as helping workers quickly deploy security patches throughout a company's computer network.

The programs from BladeLogic can simultaneously make more advanced changes across dozens of systems.

"We coveted this business for a long time," BMC Chief Executive Bob Beauchamp said in a conference call. "Getting them to sell was not an easy process. It took time."

BladeLogic CEO Dev Ittycheria said on the call that his company's board had solicited and received other bids after getting a proposal from BMC. He declined to elaborate on the bidding process.

Analysts have speculated for months that BladeLogic would be acquired, with BMC and VMware (NYSE: VMW) mentioned as potential buyers.

The move comes as further indication that BSM has become a white-hot area in IT, dominated by BMC, HP and other heavyweights including IBM and CA. Storage giant EMC has also begun pushing into the space.

BMC shares fell 5.4 percent to $31.95 on a day when the NASDAQ Composite Index was down 1.4 percent. BladeLogic shares have nearly doubled from a 52-week low of $14.51 at the end of January.

The agreement will slightly reduce BMC's operating earnings in fiscal year 2009, but add to its profit in fiscal 2010, BMC said.