Ask Jeeves buys Excite Europe

Ask Jeeves continues its European expansion

Ask Jeeves is continuing its European expansion with the acquisition of Excite Italia from Tiscali for an undisclosed sum, the Web search engine company announced Friday. Excite Italia operates Excite Europe.

The deal is the logical next step in the company's European strategy, Ask Jeeves said in a statement. In April, Ask Jeeves launched of a test search engine site for Spain called Ask Jeeves España, which it said would be followed this year and beyond with similar sites for other western European countries.

Ask Jeeves will leverage Excite's pan-European operational infrastructure and market knowledge to speed up its European strategy, the company said. It believes the acquisition will provide an instant revenue stream from additional users and advertisers. However, the deal is not expected to have a material impact on revenue or earnings per share this year, said the company, which is based in Oakland, California.

Ask Jeeves, which is playing catch up in the European markets with rivals Google and Yahoo, is itself part of another pressing deal, having agreed to be acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp. in March. The media conglomerate headed by IAC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Barry Diller, intends to buy Ask Jeeves in a stock deal valued at $1.85 billion.

Excite will remain a separate brand under the Ask Jeeves umbrella, and will continue to operate out of its primary office in Rome, Ask Jeeves said. Excite currently operates portal services in a number of European markets including Spain, Italy, France, the U.K., Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.