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IBM to Acquire Ascential

It will pay $1.1 billion, or $18.50 a share in cash, for the software provider.
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(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

agreed Monday to acquire systems integration software company



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for $18.50 a share in cash, or about $1.1 billion.

The buyout price is about 18% above Ascential's Friday close of $15.70, and the shares jumped $2.69, or 17.3%, to $18.21 in premarket Instinet trading. The stock has traded around $11 as recently as early August and at $28 in January 2004.

"The acquisition of Ascential Software expands IBM's open information integration platform and strengthens our ability to 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 said in a release.

IBM closed Friday at $91.51.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of Ascential Software and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2005.