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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 11:11 GMT
Microsoft to buy Fast search firm
Fast website
The deal will have to be accepted by holders of 90% of Fast shares
Microsoft has offered to buy the Norwegian search software firm Fast Search & Transfer in a deal that values it at about $1.2bn (607m).

The price is 42% above Fast's closing share price on 4 January and the shares have risen close to the offer level.

Fast's board of directors have recommended that shareholders accept the offer and says that holders of 37% of its stock have already done so.

Fast provides internet search software to other companies.

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

Microsoft sees the internet as a key area of growth in the future.

But so far it has been unable to challenge Google's dominance in internet search.

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