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(March 30, 2001) -- Divine Inc. said late this afternoon it agreed to buy about 19 or 20 offices of MarchFirst, primarily former Whittman-Hart assets that had been known as Central Operations. The deal also calls for Divine to buy assets including MarchFirst's application service provider HostOne, some Asian operations, the i-campus training and technology business and all assets of Blue Vector, a MarchFirst venture capital arm. The announcement confirms the deal reported Thursday by AdAge.com.

Divine acquired no debt and $130 million in receivables, and the deal will include roughly 2,100 MarchFirst employees. Total value of the deal is $10 million in cash and a $60 million balloon payment due in five years.

The sale of other MarchFirst assets, including McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., is expected soon. Havas Advertising is expected to finalize a deal to purchase McKinney from the distressed MarchFirst within the next few weeks, an individual familiar with the situation told AdAge.com.

Executives from MarchFirst and the Paris-based Havas declined to comment. -- Catherine P. Taylor and Wendy Davis

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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