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Thoma Cressey Invests Over $100 Million in Companies Engaged With IBM Small and Medium Business Platform

Simplicity, Integration Make System i an Attractive Investment

ARMONK, NY - 19 Dec 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced Thoma Cressey's recent investment of over one hundred million dollars in technology companies that serve users of IBM's "all-in-one" System i business computing platform. A private equity investment firm known particularly in the Software, Services, and Healthcare industries, Thoma Cressey has made three major investments in this marketplace in as many months -- signaling the firm's positive view of the System i platform.

"Within the last five years, Thoma Cressey has increased its focus on mission-critical software for small and mid-sized businesses, making its investments around IBM's premier system for customers of this size a natural," said Orlando Bravo, a managing partner at Thoma Cressey. "Thoma Cressey's recent investment activity is a reflection of the System i market's potential for growth and the opportunities we expect it to provide."

The System i platform has built-in security, virus-resistance, database and storage as well as systems management recognized for its simplicity. This allows companies to run programs across the entire business -- from accounting, supply chain, customer relationship management, email and high availability -- all on one open, integrated system that automatically backs-up and helps manage the data.

"The System i provides value unique in the industry in that it is specially designed to free businesses from IT complexity -- helping them install applications faster and manage them more easily. Because companies continue to name IT simplification a top priority, this unique capability makes the System i marketplace an attractive investment," said Scott Crabill, partner at Thoma Cressey.

Thoma Cressey acquired in September high availability solution provider Vision Solutions International, Inc. Vision, of Irvine, Calif., offers its software exclusively on the System i platform and has more than 2,000 customers and 12,000 licenses around the world.

In November, Thoma Cressey announced that it would also acquire high availability solution provider iTera, Inc. and merge it with Vision, making the newly formed, privately held enterprise the world's largest provider of high availability solutions for the System i. By merging the two companies, Thoma Cressey plans to leverage Vision's global reach and the companies' innovative technology to penetrate a marketplace it believes has huge potential -- only 5 percent of the hundreds of thousands of System i customers are currently running high availability solutions.

Less than a week after the purchase of iTera, Thoma Cressey announced a recapitalization agreement under which it will acquire an equity interest in Sirius Computer Solutions, Inc., an IBM Premier Business Partner and the largest IBM System i business partner. Thoma Cressey's investment in Sirius was driven by the company's standing as the leading U.S.-based IBM Solution Provider and its track record of delivering real benefit to customers with advanced solutions. Thoma Cressey expects the financial partnership to allow Sirius to continue its aggressive growth strategy in the System i arena and beyond.

"We are pleased to see top investment firm Thoma Cressey influencing the future direction of the System i marketplace by helping companies that have catered to this space for years provide new value for our mutual customers," said Mark Shearer, general manager of IBM System i. "Thoma Cressey's growing interest in System i demonstrates the strength of IBM's integrated, open platform."

For more information on IBM System i, visit http://www.ibm.com/systemi.

About Thoma Cressey Equity Partners Inc.

Thoma Cressey is a leading private equity investment firm that has been providing equity and strategic support to experienced management teams building growing companies for more than 25 years. In the software industry, Thoma Cressey has amassed a portfolio of software earnings in excess of $400 million. Thoma Cressey's investment focus is on companies in the software, healthcare, business services and consumer products industries. Thoma Cressey currently manages approximately $2 billion of equity capital. For more information on Thoma Cressey, visit www.thomacressey.com.

Contact(s) information

Joanna Brewer
IBM Media Relations
415-545-2270
jmbrewer@us.ibm.com

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