WebMethods, a Fairfax business software company, plans to announce today a partnership with Global eXchange Services, a Gaithersburg supply-chain software firm, to integrate their technologies and launch a joint sales and marketing program. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Company executives said the purpose of the deal is to offer retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and financial-service firms a single system to manage internal systems and external transactions.

WebMethods intends to show results of the new collaboration at a conference that begins today in San Diego.

WASHINGTON

Rauch Industries, a manufacturer of glass Christmas tree ornaments, diversified into Halloween. The Gastonia, N.C., company bought Pumpkin, a designer and marketer of pumpkin-carving kits. Terms were not disclosed. Rauch is a portfolio company of MMP Capital Partners, an $88 million domestic equity fund, which in turn is an affiliate of Milestone Merchant Partners, a merchant bank based in the District.

CarrAmerica Realty of the District and Beacon Capital Partners of Boston said Universal Music Group, a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company, signed a lease for 200,000 square feet at their 10 Universal City Plaza in Universal City, Calif. Universal Music Group is expanding and extending its existing lease at the 772,000-square-foot, 35-story office tower.

MARYLAND

Paradigm Solutions, a Rockville-based provider of information technology and business services, went public through a merger with Paradigm Holdings of Denver. In the deal, Paradigm Holdings issued 17.5 million shares of restricted common stock for all outstanding shares of Paradigm Solutions. Paradigm Holdings will now do business in Rockville under the name Paradigm Solutions.

NeighborCare of Baltimore, an institutional pharmacy provider, closed its acquisition of Quest Total Care Pharmacy of Longview, Tex. Quest serves skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Texas.

Argan of Rockville said it agreed to buy Vitamin Research Products of Carson City, Nev. Terms were not disclosed. Argan has been seeking companies to acquire in the alternative medicine and herbal products market.

VIRGINIA

Capital One Financial of McLean said it agreed to buy HFS Group, a British home-equity-loan brokers, for $117 million in cash. The price includes repayment of $47 million of HFS Group's debt.

Frank & Co., a McLean accounting firm, established an affiliate catering to associations and nonprofit organizations. The firm said Communications Resources will offer communications, marketing and organizational-management counsel and support.

RaySat of McLean said it recruited an executive team to develop its antennas that allow SUVs, RVs and other vehicles to receive satellite television and radio broadcasts. The company uses technology created by a research and development company in Bulgaria. RaySat said it received $10 million in first-round financing in June.

Headstrong, a Fairfax consulting firm, acquired the assets of Elind, a software provider focused on the global capital markets industry. Headstrong said Elind's software helps investment banks and brokerages consolidate order-management systems and route orders appropriately.

BearingPoint of McLean said the Federal Communications Commission approved its selection to lead a team helping to resolve radio interference problems experienced by public safety organizations. A committee of interested parties selected a team including BearingPoint, Sanders & Dempsey and Baseline Telecom.

Mascot Books of Sterling said it developed a catalogue of 39 children's books, each of them featuring a college mascot that takes readers around its campus. Founder Naren Aryal said he left a career as a lawyer for technology companies after coming up with the idea for the first such book, "Hello Hokie Bird!" Aryal said his wife, Aimee, wrote the book after they took their daughter to a football game at Virginia Tech and the toddler was captivated by the university's Hokie Bird mascot.

Among the 39 Mascot Books for children are "Hello Hokie Bird," for Virginia Tech; and "Hello Testudo," for the University of Maryland."