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Microsoft to buy Danish software company for about $1.3 billion


COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy Danish software company Navision in a $1.3 billion stock and cash deal.

Under the deal, Navision will become part of Microsoft's Business Solutions division. Its corporate headquarters in Vedbaek, just north of the capital, Copenhagen, will be Microsoft's center of development and operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Microsoft offered Navision shareholders $37 per share or Microsoft shares based on a specified exchange ratio, according to a news release. Navision said its board was unanimously recommending that shareholders accept the offer.

Navision, which has some 1,300 employees in 30 countries, would be the first acquisition for Microsoft since December 2000, when the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant bought North Dakota-based Great Plains Software in a $1.1 billion deal.

``The combined vision, business strategy and product offerings of Microsoft and Navision will provide great benefits to small and midmarket customers and will create strong growth opportunities for Microsoft,'' Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

The announcement of the deal sent Navision's shares soaring 11 percent to $36.69 in early trading at the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

Navision sells applications for enterprise resource planning as well as customer relationship and knowledge management. It has been successful in Europe but has failed to penetrate the U.S. market.

Customer relationship management, or CRM, allows a company to keep track of its entire relationship with a customer. In addition to recording purchases and notifying users of a customer's service needs, it can link to a company's financial catalog to provide sales estimates, discounts and cross-promotions, and can be used to create a marketing database based on customers' buying habits.
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