Gartner makes a deal for Meta

Global technology research firm Gartner Inc. has agreed to purchase its smaller rival Meta Group Inc. in an all-cash deal worth $162 million, or $10 per share, the company said today.

Like Gartner, Meta Group is based in Stamford, Conn., and supplies IT research and advisory and strategic consulting services.

"Gartner and Meta Group ? share complimentary business models, which will allow easy integration of Meta Group's offerings into Gartner's existing service portfolio," said Gene Hall, Gartner's chief executive officer.

The deal increases Gartner's market reach and adds Meta's "well-trained, successful sales force," Hall said. "The acquisition will make Gartner a stronger company with increased opportunities for growth and greater resources to offer clients."

Gartner will finance the purchase with current cash and borrowings under the company's existing credit line. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2005. Gartner will provide additional information on the deal's financial impact, as well as its guidance for 2005, during its 2004 year-end earnings call Feb. 3.

Gartner has more than 3,700 employees and posted 2003 revenue of $858.4 million. Meta Group employs approximately 700 workers and had 2003 revenue of $122.5 million.

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