RealTime IT News

Jeeves Heads to Europe

Search engine Ask Jeeves announced Friday it has purchased Excite Italia, the operator of Excite Europe, from Tiscali.

The company, which agreed to be acquired by Barry Dillers's IAC/InterActivCorp back in March for 2006 $1.85 billion in stock, says the acquisition of Excite Europe will extend Ask Jeeves' ownership of the Excite brand beyond the United States.

Ask Jeeves acquired Excite.com in March 2004, while ISP giant Tiscali acquired Excite Europe in April 2002.

"This deal is a next step in Ask Jeeves' European expansion strategy," Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Ask Jeeves, said in a statement. "Access to Excite's pan-European operational infrastructure and market knowledge will accelerate our European growth initiative and provide an instant revenue stream from additional users and advertisers."

The European landscape for the Excite business, a network of pan-European portal properties, includes Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, according to the company. The acquisition of Excite Europe will give Ask Jeeves ownership of Excite's Internet domains in each of these countries.

It will also provide immediate access to a wealth of resources in the European portal market in terms of users, operations, market knowledge and revenue streams, the company said. Ask Jeeves will have the ability to extend its leading search technology to Excite Europe users.

Ask Jeeves said it doesn't expect the acquisition to materially impact 2005 revenue or earnings per share, does not expect the acquisition to affect Ask Jeeves' financial guidance as issued with its first-quarter earnings.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Excite has offered search and Web portal services since 1995 and will remain a separate brand under Ask Jeeves.

It was a busy day for Ask Jeeves, as the company also announced an agreement with InfoSpace, a leader in private-label search, online directory and mobile entertainment and information, to mutually support the search and portal functions at Excite.com.

The agreement is part of a settlement of litigation involving the site. Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will share marketing costs and revenue from the Excite.com Web search function.

"We are pleased to be working with Ask Jeeves to promote search on Excite. Leveraging the strengths of the portal and the search box makes sense for both companies and will allow us to grow traffic and revenues," Jim Voelker, chairman and CEO of InfoSpace, said.