In an all-cash deal valued at $445 million, The Sage Group plc entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Best Software for $35 per share. Best will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Sage. The transaction is expected to close in mid February. The acquisition expands Sage’s U.S. market position by adding a complementary line of human resources, payroll, fixed asset, and analytic solutions to its accounting and business management software. The companies’ combined client base will exceed 2.1 million business customers worldwide. “Best Software has excellent products, a powerful value-added reseller network and a substantial customer base,” says Paul Walker, Sage Group CEO. “Our combined businesses will represent a powerful force in the U.S. small to medium-sized business market.” In addition to Best Software, Sage Group’s U.S. business interests include Peachtree, which provides accounting software to very small businesses; Sage Software, provider of accounting software to small and midsize companies; and Sage Time Division, which provides time and fee billing software to accountants and the legal community.