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Microsoft to Buy Fast

REDMOND, Wash. and OSLO, Norway -- Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced that it will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer ASA (OSE: "FAST"), a leading provider of enterprise search solutions, through a cash tender offer for 19.00 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per share. This offer represents a 42 per cent premium to the closing share price on 4 Jan 2008 (the last trading day prior to this announcement), and values the fully diluted equity of FAST at 6.6 billion NOK (or approximately $1.2 billion US). FAST's board of directors has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the offer. In addition, shareholders representing in aggregate 37 per cent of the outstanding shares, including FAST's two largest institutional shareholders, Orkla ASA and Hermes Focus Asset Management Europe, have irrevocably undertaken to accept the offer. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of calendar year 2008.

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"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. "Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs."

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

Fast Search & Transfer ASA