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Ask Jeeves if it ate Excite.com

The answer is yes, for $343m

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Ask Jeeves is shelling out around $343m in cash and shares to acquire privately-held online search and media company Excite.com's owner, Interactive Search Holdings. It will issue 9.3 million shares of common stock and options, and $150m in cash - a purchase price of $343m based on Ask Jeeves' closing price on 3 March.

With a stable of companies including My Way, My Search, My Web Search, iWon, Excite and the MaxOnline advertising network, Interactive Search Holdings was ranked as the 9th most visited US property on the Web in December 2003.

The acquisition doubles Ask Jeeves' market share and means the enlarged group should be better placed to cash in on more traffic and advertising. The newly enlarged group is expected to generate revenues of between $220m to $230m.

Following completion of the acquisition, Interactive Search Holdings will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ask Jeeves. It operations will remain in Irvington, New York. ®

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