Japanese electronics giant Toshiba said today it would pay about $850m for IBM's retail solutions unit.

The US firm said it would create the world's leading point-of-sale company.

The deal is expected to be completed later in the year, with the move aimed at retailers who "will benefit from accelerated development of new products and solutions", the Japanese firm said.

The purchase will let Toshiba expand its point-of-sale (POS) systems business, which retailers can use to closely monitor sales figures, show how much of a particular product they sold, when it was sold and at what price.

Norio Sasaki, Toshiba's chief executive, said it would help the firm expand in North America, Europe "and the emerging economies."

"I also expect this significant step to support innovation and the creation of new business opportunities for Toshiba Group," Sasaki said.

Under the deal, the IBM unit will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Tec, a division of the Japanese firm.