IBM is buying Equitant, an outsourcing company, to add to its business consulting unit.

The price paid was not disclosed, but all 200 Equitant employees will move over to IBM, said an IBM spokeswoman.

Don Schulman, vice president in IBM's global finance and administration BTO (business transformation outsourcing) unit, said only that it had paid "the fair market value of these kind of purchases". The buy will strengthen IBM's finance and administration transformation services, the company said.

Equitant is a private company with primary operations in Dublin, and Stamford, Connecticut. It was launched 1987 to provide working capital management to large corporations. It then evolved to focus on advising customers on how to manage their full purchase cycle. Customers include Cisco, HP and Microsoft.

Schulman said IBM is also on the look-out for similar acquisitions: "We primarily develop these services in-house but every so often a company like Equitant comes around that is a good fit. We are always on the lookout for those opportunities," he said.

He also pointed out that its BTO services are aimed at large global corporations. "This is a very fast-growing market, but I don't think that currently there is space for small or medium-size businesses, though in my opinion, that may very well happen down the road," Schulman said.

Schulman denied there was a conflict of interest in providing consulting as well as the technology and support to follow through on that advice. "We are technology agnostic and we don't necessarily push IBM technology, but rather best of breed and what is in the client's benefit," he argued.