Fast Acquires Platefood Limited.
OSLO, Norway and NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Fast Search & Transfer[TM] (OSEAX: FAST.OL) (FAST[TM]), the leading developer of search technologies, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Platefood Limited. Platefood Limited was originally set up as a joint investment in 2005 by Schibsted SEyK AS, Sensis Pty and FAST to offer online search services and search-based advertising solutions to media and online directories companies. As the market opportunity for online advertising solutions significantly expanded over the last year, Platefood's business model shifted to a software-centric market, making FAST the logical partner to maximize the market opportunity and take Platefood to the next level.
"We entered into this venture because we believed in the potential of the Web search services market," said Knut Falchenberg, vice president of electronic media for Schibsted. "We unanimously acknowledged that FAST, an established search solution provider with distribution, reach, and focus on media and entertainment customers globally, is best positioned to capitalize on the growing and more dynamic market for search-based monetization solutions."
FAST intends to consolidate the Platefood business into its current operations to capitalize on the rapidly growing market for search-based monetization solutions. Platefood Performance[TM], a state-of-the art search monetization and advertising solution for selling, managing and delivering pay-for-performance advertising, leverages FAST's Enterprise Search Platform (ESP[TM]) to offer the most scalable, high-performance and flexible solution currently available, meeting the high demand for monetization services from global companies, current customers, and partners. Schibsted and Sensis will continue as key customers of the Platefood monetization solution.
"Online advertising is already a US $18 billion global market, representing 4.6% of total worldwide advertising spend," said John M. Lervik, chief executive officer of FAST. "We have seen strong growth in the media, entertainment, and telecom markets, and with the Platefood search-based monetization solutions, FAST will help customers monetize their content in new and innovative ways and protect ad revenues to effectively compete with content aggregators like Google."
Financial Summary of the Platefood Acquisition
The aforementioned acquisition by FAST was acted upon in connection with the Company's overall strategy to explore M&A opportunities that yield accelerated growth within the search sector; around companies with a strong focus in media and entertainment; and/or technologies that augment the value of FAST ESP.
FAST has acquired all the remaining shares in Platefood Limited including 19.99% from Schibsted SEyK AS and 61.01% from Sensis Pty Ltd for [euro] 8,100,000 in cash. FAST owned 19% prior to this transaction. The deal closed November 27, 2006, and FAST is accounting for the transaction using the purchase method. Platefood will be included in the consolidated financial statements of FAST from the acquisition date and is expected to be accretive to the Company's 2007 earnings. The Company does not expect any changes to historical numbers as a result of the acquisition.
"The Platefood acquisition is a step forward in our ongoing growth strategy. We expect that through 2010, search-based monetization and advertising solutions will be one of our fastest growing market segments and an integral part of the FAST solution portfolio," said Joseph Lacson, chief financial officer of FAST. "This enables FAST to broaden its solution offerings for media, entertainment, and telecommunications companies and positions us to deliver continued explosive growth."
As FAST combines the Platefood products with its own solution sets, FAST will continue to invest in monetization and advertising solutions to achieve future revenue potential. As part of the agreement, FAST will assume all employees of Platefood, the majority of which are located in London. FAST will continue to offer full support and maintenance to Platefood customers without interruption.
FAST is the leading developer of search technologies that are behind the scenes at the world's best known companies with the most demanding search problems. FAST's flexible and scalable enterprise search platform (FAST ESP) elevates the search capabilities of enterprise customers and connects people to the relevant information they seek regardless of medium. This drives revenues and reduces total cost of ownership by effectively leveraging IT infrastructure. FAST's solutions are used by more than 3,600 global customers and partners, including America Online (AOL), Cardinal Health, CareerBuilder.com, Chordiant, CIGNA, CNET, Computer Associates, Dell, EMC Documentum, Factiva, Fidelity Investments, Findexa, IBM, Knight Ridder, LexisNexis, Merrill Lynch, Rakuten, Reed Elsevier, Reuters, Sensis, Stellent, Tenet Healthcare, Thomas Industrial Networks, T-Online, US Army, Virgilio (Telecom Italia) and Vodafone.
FAST is headquartered in Norway and is publicly traded under the ticker symbol 'FAST' on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The FAST Group operates globally with presence in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and the Middle East. For further information about FAST, please visit www.fastsearch.com.
[c] 2006 Fast Search & Transfer ASA - Fast Search & Transfer, FAST, FAST ESP, Contextual Insight and the FAST logo are trademarks of Fast Search & Transfer ASA. All rights reserved.
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|Date:||Nov 28, 2006|
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