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IBM on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Corio Inc., an enterprise application service provider, for $182 million in cash. The purchase is expected to help IBM’s hosted application services business.

The acquisition, subject to regulatory and Corio shareholder approval, is also expected to boost IBM’s presence in the SMB (small and midsized business) arena, where Corio has a presence.

Despite little association with the SMB space by many companies, IBM has been delivering services to that sector for the past 10 years and earns about 20 percent of its revenues there, officials said.

Corio, of San Carlos, Calif., essentially delivers software as a service —providing software from application providers such as Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc.—which was acquired by Oracle earlier this month—SAP AG, and Siebel Systems Inc.

The company also provides professional services, applications management and infrastructure services on a pay-as-you-go model, according to Corio’s Web site.

Once the deal is done, George Kadifa, CEO of Corio, will continue to manage the company. He will also take on responsibility for IBM’s application services initiative.

Corio employees will become IBM employees. The deal is expected to close within 60 days.

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