MS offers $1.2 Billion to acquire Fast Search & Transfer

Microsoft Corporation is offering 6.6 billion NOK (or approximately $1.2 billion USD) for the acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer, a leading provider of enterprise search solutions. FAST's board of directors has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the cash tender offer, which will be subject to customary terms and conditions, for 19.00 NOK per share. In addition, shareholders representing in aggregate 37% of the outstanding shares have irrevocably undertaken to accept the offer. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of calendar year 2008.

In addition to bolstering Microsoft's enterprise search efforts, this acquisition increases Microsoft's research and development presence in Europe, complementing existing research teams in Cambridge, England, and Copenhagen, Denmark, with new and significant capabilities in Norway. The complete details of the offer, including all terms and conditions, will be contained in the offer document, which is expected to be sent to FAST shareholders during the week of January 14, 2008. FAST has a deep talent pool and is respected throughout the technology industry for its expertise in best-in-class, high-end search solutions.

"Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly. 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," said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division.

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