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Pining for the fjords: Microsoft bids $1.2 billion for Norwegian search company

By Jon Stokes | Published: January 08, 2008 – 10:36AM CT

Norwegian search company Fast Search & Transfer ASA has built a successful search business entirely outside of the consumer spotlight by providing enterprise search solutions that let companies find, store, and manage information from their own networks and from the Internet. Now Microsoft has offered to buy that business for $1.2 billion, with a $2.97 per share bid that represents a 42 percent premium over the company’s January 4 closing price.

“Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs.”

Fast’s board unanimously voted to recommend that shareholders take the offer, and the company’s largest institutional shareholders have accepted it. Microsoft expects to complete the deal sometime in the second quarter of this year, at which point it can begin integrating Fast’s technology with its enterprise products. The move should help Microsoft compete against Google’s enterprise search appliance, especially in Windows-only shops where the newly acquired functionality can be integrated directly into Microsoft clients and servers, and into products like SharePoint.

The acquisition will not only impact Microsoft’s search technology, but it will also beef up the company’s research and development presence in Europe. Microsoft already has research teams in England and Denmark, so they’ll be adding Norway to their short but growing list of European research centers.

Microsoft and Fast will talk more about the acquisition in a press conference today at 10:15 AM PT.

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Shariff Masood

Senior IT Professional

see all my answers

Best Answers in: Planning (1)

My two cents –

Get the government out of this business! Let Free Enterprise rule!

Get BroadBand to every one or something better!

All else will follow!

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