Ottawa-based Cognos Inc. announced Thursday it has been issued an advance ruling certificate on its impending $5 billion buyout by Armonk, NY-based tech giant IBM Corp.

The business intelligence software provider received the ruling under Canada’s Competition Act, which constitutes compliance with its pre-merger notification requirements.

The deal now remains subject to a few additional steps, which include: approval from Cognos shareholders, court approval of the plan of arrangement, and a few other regulatory clearances, including approval from the Minister of Industry.

A special meeting with between Cognos shareholders is set to approve the transaction and scheduled for January 14, 2007 in Ottawa. The deal is expected to close during first quarter 2008.

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