IBM is acquiring Ascential Software in a deal valued at some $1.1 billion, the companies announced early Monday morning.

Ascential (Nasdaq: ASCL), which is based in Westboro, MA, is a developer of enterprise integration software.

Ascential stock closed at $15.70 on Friday. IBM said it would pay $18.50 a share for Ascential, assuming Ascential shareholders approve the deal. Ascential reported revenues of $271.9 million in 2004, an increase of 46 percent.

IBM said the deal is designed to help Big Blue expand its footprint in information integration.

“Information integration is an important enabler of an on demand business strategy and customers are increasing their investments in software that allows them to rapidly analyze, consolidate and extract value from their business data,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group, in a statement.

“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. That’s the mark of an on demand business,” he added.

IBM said Ascential technology would complement offerings from its WebSphere Information Integrator suite.

Ascential has more than 3,000 customers and partners, according to
IBM.

IBM stock closed at $91.51 on Friday.

For details of the transaction, see: www-1.ibm.com/press/PressServletForm.wss?MenuChoice=pressreleases&TemplateName=ShowPressReleaseTemplate&SelectString=t1.docunid=7561&TableName=DataheadApplicationClass&SESSIONKEY=any&WindowTitle=Press+Release&STATUS=publish