IBM to acquire Schlumberger division

Looking to strengthen its global IT services division, IBM said Tuesday that it is buying the London-based Business Continuity Services unit of Schlumberger.

The acquisition will increase IBM's ability to help clients ensure business continuity and to provide IT infrastructure and data recovery services, the company said in a statement.

IBM declined to release the financial terms of the agreement.

More than 260 Schlumberger employees will transfer to IBM, according to Pat Corcoran, director of marketing and business development for IBM's Continuity and Recovery Services.

The Schlumberger unit has long-term contracts with more than 750 clients and more than 40 recovery sites around the world, IBM said in the statement. It provides business continuity services to major financial institutions, government bodies and global companies.

Corcoran said the Schlumberger unit will supplement IBM's Business Continuity and Recovery services unit, which has 120 business continuity locations worldwide.

"It's really been a progression of things," Corcoran said. "If you look back, it goes back to 2002 when IBM bought PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting."

He said the combination of IBM and Schlumberger's business continuity services will help companies better handle key business issues such as compliance with government data-protection regulations required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the New Basel Capital Accord, a risk management standard for global banking also known as Basel II.

"As we look at the marketplace and see what's going on, we're seeing that the business leaders are being asked to see that the business is continuously available to meet the business needs," Corcoran said. "From a recovery standpoint, they bring a trading floor capability which now gives us a full-function capability which we really didn't have before."

Corcoran said the Schlumberger unit will also provide IBM with specific skills in trading floor and workplace disaster recovery.

"IBM is anticipating greater demand for business continuity services as a result of new regulatory compliance," said Andrew Efstathiou, program manager at The Yankee Group. Both Basel II and Sarbanes-Oxley also particularly affect IBM's core of financial services clients, he said, making the offerings a good fit.

While Efstathiou didn't see any holes left to fill in IBM's continuity services, he said the company still needs to "coordinate across independent silos" within IBM and could make further acquisitions to knit together different geographies.

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