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Divine to Buy marchFIRST ASP

In a near-complete deal, according to sources close to the situation, Divine, Inc. (formerly divine Interventures, Inc.) will reportedly purchase certain assets of marchFIRST, Inc., associated with the Internet consultant's ASP, HostOne. Terms of the transaction have not been announced. Both Divine and marchFIRST were unavailable for comment.

This development comes less than 2 days after Nasdaq halted trading of the company's stock on rumors that it would lay off about 2,000 employees as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Formed by the merger of Whittman-Hart and USWeb/CKS in 1999, marchFIRST has been quickly downsizing its workforce: early this year, 550; and last year a total 2,100 people were let go.

With this purchase, sources say a new company will be created, operating as an independent, Divine subsidiary, made up of marchFIRST's Central Group offices, HostOne, SAP practice and other assets.

However, the deal does not include the remaining business units of the Chicago-based company including, the Strategy Consulting, Infrastructure Planning, Core Business Systems, and Value Added Reseller units.

Sources do say that more marchFIRST offices will be closed and other business units will be sold. The parent company will be folded over time yet a bankruptcy filing is not imminent, in the near future; however, it is a possibility, later.

These events follow a torturous, recent history for the Internet consultancy which include a major shake-up of its executive team two weeks ago with the resignations of the company's well-known CEO Bob Bernard as well as the company's chief operating officer and executive vice president of its client services group.