IBM (IBM) reached an agreement to purchase marketing software firm Unica for about $480 million, or $21 per share.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory clearance and approval from Unica's shareholders, should close in the fourth quarter, IBM said in a statement.

The purchase is part of IBM's strategy to grow its business software operation, the statement said.

"Unica was a clear choice for IBM based on its power to automate a broad set of marketing capabilities and its established reputation for delivering customer success in marketing to organizations around the world," said Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM Industry Solutions.

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