FAST to Acquire Nextpage Publishing Applications Business Unit; Unveils Search Derivative Application

Sep 03, 2004


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Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), a developer of enterprise search and real-time alerting technologies, has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the Publishing Applications Business Unit from NextPage, including the NXT, Folio, LivePublish, and GetSmart product lines. FAST has also announced FAST AdVisor, an enterprise-wide software solution that is designed to facilitate the introduction between buyers and suppliers for Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), B2C, and B2B verticals, online classifieds, and traditional publishers.

The FAST and NextPage deal is expected to close later this month. NextPage┬╣s document management service, Chrome, will remain with NextPage. As part of the agreement, FAST will assume 34 employees from NextPage, the majority of which are employed in the U.S. FAST plans to continue to offer full support and maintenance to NextPage customers without interruption. The NextPage Publishing Applications Business Unit is comprised of NXT, a, server-based publishing suite for publishers and corporations to secure and deliver information on the Internet, to corporate intranets, and on CD/DVD; Folio, a product suite for authoring, managing, securing, and publishing professional electronic information on CD/DVD with a Windows client; and GetSmart, a knowledge management application designed for helpdesk and customer support centers. NextPage will receive $6 million in cash and be eligible to receive performance-based payments up to a maximum of $9 million over four years. FAST is accounting for the transaction using the purchase method. The NextPage Business Unit will be included in the consolidated financial statements of FAST from the acquisition date and will be accretive to the company's future earnings.

FAST AdVisor is intended to improve the overall search experience so consumers can quickly discover relevant information and advertisers can more accurately connect to customers and increase the volume of qualified leads to their sites. Leveraging FAST ESP, FAST's enterprise search platform, FAST AdVisor aggregates information from structured and unstructured data sources, including the publisher's own proprietary content, as well as advertiser, third-party, and Web content. It provides organizations with a relevancy framework that allows them to control the user experience through InPerspective, FAST's rank tuning module. FAST AdVisor also includes advanced navigation and drill down capabilities, allowing users to do multi-level sorting of their search results by a variety of parameters. And the business manager defines the rules for how advertisers are seen - for example, by the level of investment, how long they have been a customer, etc.

FAST AdVisor also includes linguistics capabilities including multi-lingual dictionary and synonym management and spell-checking. With the analytics and reporting features of FAST AdVisor, the online directory provider can tune the system based upon how end users are searching and navigating. The system also includes full administrative functions that allow the IT department to manage the system on a day-to-day basis. FAST AdVisor is the second of three planned Search Derivative Applications (SDAs) to be introduced to the market by FAST this year. Rather than requiring totally separate development efforts and implementation, FAST's SDAs are developed based on the framework of the FAST ESP platform.
(www.fastsearch.com; www.fastsearch.com/fastadvisor; www.nextpage.com)