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DM industry sees record M&As in '04

The direct marketing industry generated a record number of mergers and acquisitions in 2004, according to Petsky Prunier, a direct marketing and advertising investment banker, which released its "Deal Notes Annual Review" last month. According to Petsky Prunier, there were 550 transactions among direct marketing, marketing service and marketing technology companies last year-a 6% increase over 2003. The total estimated value of the deals was $27.2 billion. Interactive marketing services accounted for 12% of direct marketing industry M&A activity in 2004, and Petsky Prunier predicted that number will increase this year.

IBM to acquire Ascential Software

IBM Corp. has agreed to acquire Ascential Software, a publicly held data integration software company, in an all-cash transaction worth about $1.1 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. IBM said the acquisition is in line with its on-demand business strategy and will strengthen its information integration business, which includes WebSphere, IBM's Information Integrator product. IBM said it will establish Ascential Software's operations as a business unit within IBM's Information Management software division led by General Manager Janet Perna.

DMA integrates AIM, adds advisory board

The Direct Marketing Association announced the full integration of its Association for Interactive Marketing subsidiary into the DMA. AIM members automatically became DMA members. The DMA also said it has established an Interactive Marketing Advisory Board, which includes Scott Ferber, CEO of; Michael Della Penna, chief marketing officer of Bigfoot Interactive; and Matt Blumberg, chairman-CEO of ReturnPath.

Firstlogic, LAS enter global marketing pact

Firstlogic and Language Analysis Systems announced a global alliance in which each company will market the other's technology along with its own. Language Analysis' name-recognition technology, which includes parsing, cleansing, matching and scoring software, will be marketed alongside Firstlogic's line of data quality technology.

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