Microsoft is acquiring online survey company Greenfield Online for $486m (£265.8m). The deal will include its popular European shopping comparison site Ciao.
It will be Microsoft’s first acquisition since its failure to acquire Yahoo! following protracted negotiations this year.
It plans to sell off Greenfield’s main online survey business, but retain Ciao. Microsoft says it will integrate Ciao’s technology platform, online community and retailer relationships in its Live Search platform.
Founded in Munich in 1999, Ciao operates in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden, and is considered one of the most popular shopping portals across Europe with 26.5 million users per month.
Greenfield was due to be sold to private equity firm Quandrangle for £213m later this year, but the company opted to accept Microsoft’s offer.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is also reportedly in talks to sell its Avenue A/Razorfish digital advertising agency to WPP. It is understood the companies are considering an asset-swap, rather than a straight cash deal, with WPP possibly trading its Open Ad Stream, the ad-serving technology arm of 24/7 Real Media, in exchange for the agency.