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And over the past 16 years, Red Hat's culture has shifted from being a commodity Linux distribution toward something more like IBM's. IBM will stop buying back its own shares. That's more than a quarter of IBM's market capitalisation, and comes as the legacy computer giant tries to play catch-up in the fast-growing cloud computing market.

IBM has seen revenue decline by nearly a quarter since Rometty, 61, took the CEO role in 2012.

Both companies stressed the importance of cloud computing to the deal. RHEL, Krishna said, is the top operating system on IBM's z System mainframes, and that has been driven largely by customer demand to run the services supported by RHEL in a mainframe environment.

However, its shares were only up 45 per cent yesterday in early trading and were lower than the $190 per share that IBM has offered for the company in a mix of cash and debt. Earnings reported on the 16th disappointed and since then the share price has shed 14%.

For IBM, Rometty emphasized that Red Hat will help improve multiple aspects of the overall business. And the latter is where IBM's focus is at.

But IBM has apparently decided this organic transformation isn't happening quickly enough and has decided a nice, juicy bit of M&A is required to hasten the process. For proof, look no further than the company's falling revenues from $107bn (£83bn) in 2011 to $79bn previous year. His conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., cut its stake in the company by 94 per cent, while increasing its investment in Apple Inc.

Watch IBM and Red Hat trade live here.

Acquiring Red Hat makes IBM "a credible player in cloud now", Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Anurag Rana said. This is a premium company.

Red Hat has expanded from a developer of Linux-based business software to being involved in most places you might find B2B open source software, including the cloud and telecoms.

Red Hat Inc.'s stock soared nearly 50 per cent in early trading to $172.

For its fiscal 2018, ended February 28, Red Hat reported revenue of $2.92 billion, up 21 percent from fiscal 2017, and net income of $258.8 million for the year. The company said at the time it believes the slowdown has "bottomed out". Red Hat's share price was 28 percent down over the past six months.

Shares in the company fell four percent at the start of trading in NY on Monday. Accelerating IBM's revenue growth will be an interesting trick since IBM's revenue isn't growing and at last earnings had suffered a year on year drop of 2%, so it's more like turning it around than speeding it up.

The deal comes just two weeks after IBM reported that its sales for its quarter ended September 30 came in at $18.8 billion, down two percent from year ago period, but flat when adjusted for currency fluctuations. Red Hat gives IBM software heft and an OpenStack playbook that can rival VMware, which incidentally has become quite cozy with AWS.

"IBM will become the world's #1 hybrid cloud provider, offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses".


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