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IBM Buys 20% of Batista’s SIX Unit, Gets $1 Billion Contract

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- International Business Machines Corp., the world’s largest computer-services provider, bought a 20 percent stake in the technology unit of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista as it expands to emerging markets.

IBM, as the Armonk, New York-based company is known, and Batista’s SIX Automacao unit will set up a technology center to serve customers in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru, EBX Group Co., the holding company for most of Batista’s assets, said today in an e-mailed statement. IBM was also awarded a $1 billion contract to provide technology services to EBX for 10 years, it said.

“IBM will contribute smarter industry solutions, providing new products, software and services that complement SIX,” the company said, without disclosing the stake’s purchase price.

IBM Chief Executive Officer Virginia Rometty, who in January became the first female CEO in the company’s 100-year history, is pushing a five-year plan focusing on programs to help businesses analyze and project trends, as well as in so-called cloud computing. IBM has said it will boost its growth markets unit, which includes faster growing economies like Brazil, to 30 percent of sales by 2015.

Batista, Brazil’s richest person, is raising money to develop his oil and mining businesses in Brazil and diversify from commodities. The IBM agreement is Batista’s second deal in 10 days after an accord to sell a $2 billion stake in EBX to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co.

IBM dropped 1.7 percent to $206.05 at the close in New York today, the lowest since March 23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto in Rio de Janeiro at jspinetto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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