French technology firm Dassault Systèmes has agreed a deal to buy the IBM sales and support unit that handles Dassault’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software for around $600m in cash.

The agreement is due to be completed in the first half of 2010, and once the two companies have integrated their PLM operations, customers are set to benefit from simplified support processes.

Dassault’s PLM portfolio includes Enovia, which has been designed to connect apparel sourcing and production offices to brand and retail headquarters.

“The planned integration of the IBM sales force and related business operations represents the largest investment in our corporate history,” said Bernard Charlès, president and CEO of Dassault Systèmes. 

He added: “We are putting our customers and partners first, creating a globally efficient sales organisation to bring the value of V6 PLM applications to every enterprise in every industry.”

The company’s latest V6R2010 package manages not only sampling, testing, RFQ (Request for Quote) and costing activities, but also related pre-production activities.

This means apparel brands can refine their global sourcing plan strategies to a combination of supplier, factory, factory or country of origin (COO) – enabling analysis and implementation of sourcing distribution, budgeting and workload plans.