Microsoft’s Fast Search Deal: Did It Do Enough Diligence on It?

Our deals columnist Steve Rosenbush has written an interesting story for, digging deeper into Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) $1.23 billion acquisition earlier this year of Norwegian enterprise search firm Fast Search and Transfer. The story says Fast was “mired in enough accounting problems, regulatory probes, and conflicts of interest that it had become known as the Enron of Norway.” We wrote about some of its business troubles previously.

Besides the accounting issues, Fast had other troubles: one director, Tomas Fussell, bought an unprofitable company called Hercules Communications and sold it to Fast for a huge profit. Fussell was forced out of the board late last year. Goldman Sachs estimated last year that the company would grow its revenue 27 percent in 2007…now after the accounting inquiry, the latest unaudited results show revenue growth of 7 percent for last year, far below estimates, the story says. Now MSFT says that it “will continue to review the company’s financial reporting systems and make any additional changes that are necessary”. Pic: Fast CEO John Lervik, as company’s own FastForward conference.

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