Microsoft To Buy Norwegian Search Firm Fast Search & Transfer For $1.23 Billion

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) will buy Norwegian web and mobile enterprise search software firm Fast Search & Transfer in a deal that values the company at 6.6 billion kroner ($1.23 billion), reports Bloomberg. The software giant will pay 19 kroner ($3.54) for each Fast share.

Fast Search is currently unprofitable and has struggled in the past year to stay afloat. It reported a $100 million loss in the third quarter, and a $26 million loss in the second quarter. In August it cut jobs and restructured the company, and has been focusing lately on mobile search. It formed a joint venture with Japanese internet service company Rakuten to provide mobile search and advertising services in Japan. In December it launched an enhanced mobile search platform that also includes personalization and recommendation technology.

Fast’s board unanimously supports the deal, and two of Fast’s largest shareholders, Orkla and Hermes Focus Asset Management Europe (total holding 37 percent) have already accepted the bid. Microsoft expects the transaction to be completed in the second quarter of 2008.

NYTimes: Microsoft has already offered enterprise search from SharePoint, a product in the Office family designed for groups of workers to collaborate on projects. And Microsoft already has a partnership with Fast, for providing enterprise search. But by purchasing Fast, Microsoft can more fully integrate the Norwegian company