IBM and Ascential Software Corporation today announced the two companies have entered into a definitive agreement for IBM to acquire the equity of Ascential Software, a publicly held company based in Westboro, Mass., in an all cash transaction at a price of approximately $1.1 billion or $18.50 per share. The acquisition is subject to Ascential Software shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2005.

Ascential Software is a leading provider of enterprise data integration software. Customers worldwide use Ascential's data integration 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's integrated portfolio helps companies solve their most complex and demanding data integration challenges to streamline operations, improve customer support, expedite business transactions, and make better strategic decisions.

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