UPDATE 1-Japan's NTT Data to buy Keane for 100 bln yen - Nikkei

Oct 21 (Reuters) - Japan-based IT services company NTT Data Corp 9613.T agreed to buy Boston-based Keane Inc for more than 100 billion yen ($1.23 billion) to access blue-chip clients in the United States, the Nikkei business daily reported.

NTT, which plans to raise its overseas sales to 300 billion yen from roughly 70 billion yen in fiscal 2009, plans to purchase all outstanding shares of Keane, marking its biggest acquisition, the daily said.

A Citigroup Inc C.N investment unit currently owns roughly half of Keane, while the Keane's employees own the rest, the daily added.

The paper said both companies are in the final stages of negotiations to reach an agreement by the end of the month.

NTT will get access to Keane’s research and development bases in India and elsewhere, the paper said.

Earlier in the year, NTT agreed to buy New Jersey-based Intelligroup Inc ITIG.OB for about $199 million through an all-cash tender offer. [nSGE65D0J7]

Japanese companies have stepped up acquisitions of foreign businesses by 20 percent in the January-September period, the paper said.

Making the most of their cash reserves and the stronger yen, more Japanese firms will likely turn to overseas mergers and acquisitions to propel global expansion, the paper said.

As of March 31, non-financial private-sector businesses in Japan held 203 trillion yen in cash reserves, the daily added. ($1=81.61 Yen) (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)