Enterprise software giant SAP said it would acquire business intelligence software developer Business Objects in a cash deal valued at about $6.8 billion.

SAP is offering 42 euros ($59.18) per share. The Business Objects board has agreed to the merger.
The companies plan to offer enhanced business intelligence features with improved decision support and analytics. The deal will help SAP build its customer base with clients from Paris-based Business Objects.

"The acquisition of Business Objects is in keeping with SAP's stated strategy to double our addressable market by 2010," said SAP CEO Henning Kagermann in a statement.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. Business Objects will operate as a stand-alone entity within the SAP Group, with current CEO John Schwartz continuing as CEO of the unit.

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