IBM is to buy business intelligence (BI) vendor Cognos. The move follows a period of consolidation in the BI and performance management software market, where Oracle bought Hyperion, while Cartesis and ALG Software were snapped up by Business Objects, which is itself being swallowed by SAP. Cognos also bought Applix earlier this year.

The deal, valued at $5bn, will be a blow to IBM rival HP, which offers a business intelligence and data warehousing platform built using products from Cognos.

IBM intends to integrate Cognos into its Information Management Software division when the deal closes. That should happen in the first quarter of 2008, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the companies said Monday.

Cognos CEO Rob Ashe will join IBM to lead the Cognos team there, reporting to the general manager of the IMS division, Ambuj Goyal.

IBM did not say how many of Cognos's other 4,000 employees it planned to retain.