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Barry Diller's InterActive Corp (IAC) is buying Ask Jeeves for almost $2bn.

IAC owns assorted web properties including CitySearch, Expedia, TicketMaster, dating site Match.com and the Home Shopping Network. The buy shows that search sites are still attracting investors. Microsoft recently followed Google and Yahoo into paid-for-search advertising.

IAC runs CitySearch which offers localised search results for businesses, bars, cinemas and restaurants.

Ask Jeeves brought in revenue of $86m in the last quarter of 2004 and income of $17.5m. IAC will buy the search engine using shares which it will then buy back, according to anonymous executives quoted by the New York Times. Official confirmation is expected this week.

Ask Jeeves owns ask.com, Bloglines and Excite. Ask Jeeves is the seventh most popular search site in the UK with 1.9 per cent of total searches, Google is a long way in front with 63 per cent. Figures from Hitwise.®

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