Call-center company Aspect Communications Corp. (ASPT) on Tuesday said it agreed to be bought by privately held Concerto Software (search) for $1 billion, forming what Aspect said would be the largest provider of call center products and services.

Separately, Aspect lowered its second-quarter earnings target due to restructuring charges.

Under the merger agreement, Aspect shareholders will receive $11.60 in cash for each share of common stock, a 15 percent premium to the stock's average closing price during the last 30 trading days.

Holders of Aspect Series B Preferred Stock will receive an equivalent amount of cash per share on an as-converted basis, Aspect said.

The transaction has been approved by Aspect's board of directors and is expected to close by September 2005.

The new company will be privately held by Concerto's investors — Golden Gate Capital (search), Oak Investment Partners (search) and its management. The chief executive officer and president of the combined company will be Concerto's CEO James Foy.

Aspect, a supplier of software to call center companies, also lowered its second-quarter earnings target. Aspect said it expects earnings per share of 6 cents to 7 cents, compared with an earlier range of 8 cents to 10 cents. The expected second-quarter operating income and earnings per share include approximately $4 million in restructuring charges related to office space consolidation, Aspect said.

Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. (MWD) advised Aspect in the transaction and provided a fairness opinion to Aspect's board of directors.

Concerto is based in Westford, Massachusetts, with operations in Europe and Asia.

Shares of Aspect rose 2.2 percent to $11.45 on the Nasdaq.