Fast Search & Transfer, 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 SØK 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, 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) 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.
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 percent from Schibsted SØK AS and 61.01 percent from Sensis Pty Ltd for 8,100,000 in cash. FAST owned 19 percent 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."
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