Yesterday was obviously a big day in the enterprise search space. “Enterprise search”, as opposed to web search news, doesn’t usually make the New York Times, Wall Street Journal Boston Globe etc. We (especially Lynda!) spent a lot of time yesterday just dealing with all the inquiries. Lynda posted her initial thoughts before the analyst call yesterday, as did Steve Arnold. Both will certainly have more to say. In addition to their blogging keep an eye out for the two reports we’ll be publishing this Spring: Enterprise Search Markets and Applications: Capitalizing on Emerging Demand, by Lynda Moulton, and Beyond Search: What to do When You’re Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Steve Arnold.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) announced that it will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer ASA (OSE: “FAST”) through a cash tender offer for 19.00 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per share. This offer represents a 42 percent premium to the closing share price on Jan. 4, 2008 (the last trading day prior to this announcement), and values the fully diluted equity of FAST at 6.6 billion NOK (or approximately $1.2 billion U.S.). FAST’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the offer. In addition, shareholders representing in aggregate 37 percent of the outstanding shares, including FAST’s two largest institutional shareholders, Orkla ASA and Hermes Focus Asset Management Europe, 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 capabilities in Norway. http://microsoft.com, http://www.fast.no/