It looks as though Microsoft is bent on proving at least some of Steve Ballmer’s predictions for the future to be true. They have recently made an offer to buy Norwegian company Fast Search and Transfer.
Fast Search and Transfer has made minor headlines in the past year with its mobile search product and deals forged with Virgin Mobile and Infospace. The company offers a range of services including enterprise search, e-commerce solutions, information management, mobile and online media to about 3500 companies, some of which fall in the Fortune 500.
As per the public declaration, Microsoft has offered Fast Search and Transfer US $3.56 per share, which is a 42 percent premium on its share price of Jan 4 2008. The total value of the deal is estimated to be US $1.2 billion or £600 million. The board of directors at Fast Search obviously consider this an excellent offer as they have unanimously recommended that its shareholders should accept it. Over 35% of the shareholders have already agreed to accept the offer.
As in all business deals there are observers and analysts who approve of the deal and those who do not. There are many who feel that $1.2 billion is too much money for a company like Fast, and that Microsoft should have waited a while and acquired the company at a lower price, once the recession, which the U.S. economy seems to be heading towards, had struck. Others believe that this is a smart move by Microsoft, and will help them further consolidate their position in the long run.
In all likelihood, the deal will have little impact on the overall search market, but will provide Microsoft access to a more robust mobile search offering and a new distribution network.