Monday, March 14, 2005, IBM announced an agreement to acquire Ascential Software Corp. in a cash transaction for approximately $1.1 billion, or $18.50 per share. The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter. Investors were positive about the deal, with both companies' stocks moving higher yesterday. As of December 31, 2004, Ascential Software had $480.7 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments.

Ascential Software makes data integration software and will become a business unit within IBM's Information Management software division. Its technology and solutions will be incorporated into IBM's Information Management and Software Group offerings, in particular, the WebSphere Information Integrator product portfolio. WebSphere Information Integrator software enables customers to centrally manage and access data that is stored across a variety of structured and unstructured sources, both from IBM and non-IBM vendors, in real time. Ascential Software already integrates with IBM WebSphere Business Integration software as part of a services-oriented architecture (SOA). Many customers already use Ascential's data integration software along with IBM's database and middleware products.

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