Microsoft Acquires Travel Search Service FareCast for $115m

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Ed. Note: In addition to the regular startup/product reviews, I’ll be covering more news/acquisitions/trends stories for the next couple of weeks. Depending on how that works out, I’ll either stick or go back to writing single-handedly about products and services. If you have an opinion or a suggestion on what you’d like to see, I’d love to hear it.

In a brief blog post, CEO Hugh Crean confirmed today in a brief blog post that FareCast, a travel airfare search/prediction service we covered briefly on Rev2 in 2006, has been acquired by Microsoft. SeattlePI, which broke the rumor last week, later confirmed the price tag to be around $115 million.

Given the partnership with MSN Travel, the acquisition most likely seemed fit for Microsoft to expand their presence in the market. The company has raised around $32 million in funding to date, and SeattlePI reports that multiple offers were most likely considered before a decision to go with Microsoft was made.

CEO Hugh Crean stated in the short blog post, “We’re excited to confirm that Farecast has been acquired by Microsoft! This acquisition creates tremendous opportunities for the Farecast team and our customers.  We look forward to sharing more details in the weeks to come.  On behalf of the Farecast team, thank you.

The acquisition is undoubtedly a part of Microsoft’s stategy Steve Ballmer unveiled at the last Web 2.0 conference to acquire 20 companies a year. The hefty price tag most likely comes from its investment dollars than real value — while undoubtedly a useful service, you’d have to be a little insane to think the service is around $115 million. In any case, congrats to the folks at FareCast for getting the deal done.

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