IBM to Acquire Ascential Software

IBM expects software to help customers integrate, structure and manage information

IBM expects software to help customers integrate, structure and manage information

Armonk, NY, and Westboro, MA — March 14, 2005 — IBM and Ascential Software Corp. have entered into a definitive agreement for Big Blue 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 provider of enterprise data integration software. Customers use Ascential's data integration software to build enterprise data warehouses, run business intelligence systems, consolidate enterprise applications, create and manage repositories of business information and enable on-demand data access.

IBM said the acquisition complements and strengthens its 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 in 2004, with a reported 46 percent total revenue increase to $271.9 million.

"Information integration is an important enabler of an on-demand business strategy, and customers are increasing their investments in software that allows them to analyze, consolidate and extract value from their business data," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group. "The acquisition of Ascential Software expands IBM's open information integration platform so we can help customers create an environment that delivers the data they need, in the right form, to the right location and at the right time."

IBM added that the acquisition announced today addresses a customer challenge, which is applying technology to respond more quickly to changing market conditions. For example, some retailers use Ascential's software to gather, standardize and structure sales information from multiple channels (for example, Internet, catalogs, storefronts). This provides a single view of vendors and customers from disparate systems, and enables users to make inventory and pricing adjustments in response to changing market demands.

Big Blue said Ascential Software's ability to gather, move and upgrade the quality of data complements its WebSphere Information Integrator product portfolio. WebSphere Information Integrator software allows customers to centrally manage and access data that is stored across a variety of structured and unstructured sources, from IBM and non-IBM vendors, in real-time.

The company said the combination will help customers solve numerous integration problems. For example, a company trying to consolidate data from multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems into a single system could leverage WebSphere Information Integrator to access various mainframe or distributed sources for profiling and assessment, and then use Ascential Software's data migration and transformation capabilities to integrate the data.

Ascential Software already integrates with IBM WebSphere Business Integration software as part of a service-oriented architecture (SOA), providing data movement and transformation within a process step.