Autodesk has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Maya-maker Alias in a $182 million cash deal.

Autodesk anticipates that the transaction will close within the next four to six months.

"This acquisition is designed to leverage the strengths of both companies," said Doug Walker, president and CEO of Alias. Alias' customers will benefit from nearly $300 million in R&D spending while having access to new and complementary products and technologies, he promised.

"This acquisition brings to Autodesk a highly talented group of individuals, a wealth of technologies and a great set of products", said Carl Bass, chief operating officer of Autodesk.

"Alias' technology spans several of our most important markets and augments the synergy between our design and media businesses. Our design customers are demanding more powerful visualisation, animation and publishing capabilities. Our media and entertainment customers are increasingly using the data created by our design applications for broadcast, film and games projects. By combining the technology and talents of our two companies, we will be better able to continue delivering solutions that address our customers' complex needs," he explained.

Alias customers include Industrial Light and Magic, DreamWorks, Nintendo, General Motors and BMW. Alias revenues were $83 million in the fiscal year ended 30 June 2005.

Autodesk will continue to develop the Alias product lines in conjunction with Autodesk's complementary products and technologies.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.