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Microsoft Buys Commercial Search Site

Microsoft Corp. on Friday agreed to buy Greenfield Online for $486 million. Greenfield is the parent company of Ciao, an online price comparison and products reviews site, which was believed to be Microsoft's main target in the deal.

Greenfield had only just terminated takeover negotiations with the Quadrangle Group earlier in the week before Microsoft was revealed as the new buyer. The software giant's offer is worth $17.50 per share, according to the Financial Times, representing a pretty small premium over the group's closing share price on Thursday. Microsoft has already agreed to sell Greenfield's online research business, although neither the price nor the purchaser has been revealed.

The move for European-based Ciao definitely resonates with Microsoft's recent attempt to bribe U.S. search users through its Live Search Cashback program. John Mangelaars, Microsoft's vice president for consumer and online in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Ciao would improve the commercial search experience and add around 100 developers to its European operations. Ciao has 26m users, according to Comscore.

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Read the whole story at Financial Times »

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