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BI Buy for Big Blue

November 12 2007

IBM has today agreed to acquire Ottawa-based business intelligence provider Cognos in an all-cash transaction totalling around US$5 billion or US$58 per share.

The acquisition is subject to closing conditions, shareholder and regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. It follows the purchase of fellow BI giant Business Objects by SAP a month ago (www.mrweb.com/drno/news7413.htm ).

The buy is the 23rd in support of IBM's Information on Demand strategy, a cross-company initiative announced in February 2006 to make use of the firm's various expertise to 'unlock the business value of information'. The $1bn IBM spent on acquisitions in 2007 to date made it a relatively quiet year compared to the $4.8bn spent in 2006.

IBM says it saw 'a unique opportunity to acquire a core asset in an important adjacent space', and that the buy will contribute to the achievement of the company's objective for earnings-per-share growth through 2010. The two firms have been partners for more than 15 years and have many joint clients.

Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Software Group, says customers are demanding 'complete solutions, not piece parts, to enable real-time decision making'. Mills believes Cognos will complement the firm's decades of experience in BI areas from data warehousing to information integration and analytics. It will also extend IBM's offer for CFOs with 'powerful financial planning and consolidation capabilities'.

Rob Ashe, President and CEO of Cognos, says IBM is 'a perfect complement to our strategy, with minimal overlap in products, a broad range of technology synergies, and the resources, reach, and world-class services to accelerate this vision.'

Cognos is expected to be integrated within IBM's Information Management Software division, focused on Business Intelligence and Performance Management. Ashe will lead the group, reporting directly to General Manager, Ambuj Goyal.

Cognos, which has approximately 4,000 employees worldwide, is online at www.cognos.com. More information on the proposed deal is available at www.ibm.com/investor/viewpoint/ircorner/2007/07-11-12-1.phtml.

All articles 2006-20 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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