Microsoft bids $1.2bln to acquire FAST Search and Transfer

Microsoft announced today plans to acquire Norwegian enterprise search leader FAST for about $1.2 billion US dollars cash, or a 42% premium on the company’s current price on the Norwegian stock market.  FAST is a leader in the enterprise search space, includes among its assets a highly talented workforce, and has recently been branching out into mobile and web search, including advertising solutions.

While Microsoft will use the acquisition to bolster its enterprise search offerings, which can offer a whole different set of challenges from consumer based web search, the Norwegian company’s multiple offerings should help to bolster Live Search, as well.  Microsoft plans to use the acquisition to bolster enterprise search through its Sharepoint Server offerings, according to the Microsoft press release, issued this morning:

The companies possess a number of complementary strengths that advance a shared vision for helping businesses deliver information worker productivity and improved business results. FAST has a deep talent pool and is respected throughout the technology industry for its expertise in best-in-class, high-end search solutions. Microsoft offers worldwide customer reach and an extensive partner network, and is the recognized leader in business productivity with the popular Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, which combines search with best-in-class collaboration, business intelligence, portal and content management capabilities.

“This acquisition gives FAST an exciting way to spread our cutting-edge search technologies and innovations to more and more organizations across the world,” said John Lervik, CEO of FAST. “By joining Microsoft, we can benefit from the momentum behind the SharePoint business productivity platform to really empower a broader set of users through Microsoft’s strong sales and marketing network. It validates FAST’s momentum and leadership in enterprise search.”