Hewlett-Packard is finally the proud owner of Mercury Interactive, after closing the US$4.5 billion purchase of the IT management software and services player Tuesday.Sealing the deal took a little longer than expected, given HP first announced its intention to buy Mercury back in July. HP had to extend its tender offer four times to Mercury shareholders before the vendor was able to complete the tender offer process last week. Mercury is now a wholly owned HP subsidiary.Mercury is the largest software acquisition HP has made to date and is set to boost the vendor\u2019s annual software revenue to more than $2 billion. With Mercury under its belt, HP will become the sixth-largest software vendor in the world, according to David Gee, vice president of marketing for software at HP."This is the end of the beginning," Gee said on a Tuesday conference call with analysts. "The road map and convergence work are done."While HP has traditionally focused on systems and network management with its OpenView software family, Mercury has concentrated on application management and also owns the Systinet registry and repository, important technology to facilitate service-oriented architecture deployments. "This is a game-changing move for our customers," Gee said. "We\u2019ll combine Mercury with OpenView."Acquiring Mercury can be seen as a major commitment by HP to OpenView, which hasn\u2019t always been the case. At one point, a few years back, Mercury was actively considering buying OpenView when HP appeared to be losing interest in the systems management product family.HP expects to go public with its road map for Mercury technologies at its next major customer event, Software Universe, due to take place in Vienna Dec. 12-15, Gee said.Since July, HP has also been busy talking to customers. "They told us that the [IT] industry has a spotty track record in terms of product integration, so \u2019Don\u2019t screw it up,\u2019 " Gee said. Bringing HP and Mercury together has been complex given the size of the two companies, but easier than other HP acquisitions because there\u2019s "almost no product overlap," he added. By China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)Related Links:\n\nHP, SAP Join for Research\n\nHP Spying ScandalCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.