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IBM to Buy Ascential for $1.1 Billion

IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, said yesterday that it signed an agreement to acquire Ascential Software, a provider of enterprise data integration software, for about $1.1 billion, or $18.50 per share. The deal is to close in the second quarter.

Customers use Ascential's software to build enterprise data warehouses, power business intelligence systems, consolidate enterprise applications, create and manage master repositories of critical business information and enable on-demand data access. Ascential Software, Westboro, MA, has 3,000 customers and partners globally in financial services and banking, insurance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, telecommunications and government.

The acquisition complements IBM's information integration business, a key part of the company's information management efforts and a unit that produced triple-digit growth in 2004. Ascential Software also grew rapidly in 2004, with a reported 46 percent revenue increase to $271.9 million.

Ascential's ability to gather, move and enhance the quality of large amounts of data complements IBM's WebSphere Information Integrator product portfolio. WebSphere Information Integrator software lets customers centrally manage and access data stored across various structured and unstructured sources, from IBM and non-IBM vendors, in real time.

When the deal is complete, IBM will:

· Establish Ascential Software's operations as a business unit within IBM's Information Management software division, led by general manager Janet Perna.

· Incorporate Ascential technology and solutions into IBM's Information Management and Software Group offerings.

· Market and sell Ascential products through IBM's and Ascential's worldwide sales channels and business partners.

· Build upon the companies' existing partnership, which includes 550 joint customers worldwide.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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