Big Blue buys Ascential in US$1.1 billion deal

IBM has dipped into its war chest to buy data integration software firm Ascential Software for US$1.1 billion.

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By  Peter Branton Published  March 20, 2005

IBM has dipped into its war chest to buy data integration software firm Ascential Software for US$1.1 billion. Ascential’s apps are used to build data warehouses, support business intelligence systems and provide users with a high-level view of their business. The company began life as part of Informix but became independent when IBM acquired the database firm in 2001. By buying Ascential, IBM will strengthen its portfolio in data integration; a market IDC predicts will increase from US$9.3 billion in 2003 to US$13.6 billion by 2008. IBM believes Ascential’s software will complement its WebSphere Information Integrator software offerings. “This is a very good deal for us because IBM and Ascential are already working together in this part of the world. Now we’ll be able to offer the complete product portfolio,” said Basher Kilani, IBM Middle East’s software group manager. The two companies have mutual clients in the local banking, telecommunication and government sectors. Worldwide the duo currently have more than 550 joint customers. The US$1.1 billion deal, which is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, is expected to close in 2Q05. When complete, IBM will make Ascential a business unit within its information management software division and integrate its apps with its own solutions. Kilani said it was too early to say what the impact on Middle East customers will be. However, he added that IBM is looking to work with existing Ascential partners, such as Global Technology Services, and will make Ascential solutions available to its own partner network.

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