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IBM buys rest of Advantis network

Big Blue plans to become the sole owner of the Advantis data network by purchasing the 30 percent stake held by Sears.

IBM (IBM) plans to become the sole owner of the Advantis data network services by purchasing the 30 percent stake held by its partner Sears (S) for $450 million.

IBM holds the remaining 70 percent stake in the operation, which will be incorporated into the IBM Global Services brand. The company said in a statement today that it is pulling the operation underthe Global Services umbrella as part of its effort to provide more comprehensive services to its customers and deepen its stake in network computing.

Outsourcing and other computer services represent the second-largest revenue stream for IBM, behind hardware sales. Last year, Global Services reported $22 billion in revenue, the company said. By pushing network computers, which rely on network services, Big Blue hopes to see the division's growth accelerate.

The Sears department store chain said it is selling off its stake to "focus our resources on our core businesses."

Sears said it will post a pre-tax gain of $150 million as a result of the sale after the deal closes.

The companies did not indicate when the deal will close. It is subject to government regulatory approval, the companies said.

IBM and Sears have a history of joint deals. The duo established the Prodigy Services online services several years ago. The operation was sold last year for $250 million.