Founded in 1999 and acquired by Greenfield in 2005, Ciao is an Munich-based EU comparison shopping site with user reviews.
According to the press release out this morning:
The acquisition signals a further milestone investment for Microsoft in Europe and will see Microsoft increase its European commercial search capabilities as part of its intent to make Microsoft Live Search the premier destination for consumers looking to research and purchase goods and services online, as well as enable merchants to drive greater online sales.
By contrast Microsoft also said in the release that it has “found a buyer” (unnamed) for Greenfield Online’s Internet survey division. Microsoft cites comScore data, saying that Ciao the shopping engine has more than 26.5 million unique visitors per month across several European sites.
Microsoft beat out private equity firm Quadrangle for the deal. There’s a hint of irony here: Yahoo’s former COO Dan Rosensweig is one of Quadrangle’s partners. Quadrangle had been mentioned as a “white knight” potentially during the MicroHoo episode (Rosensweig had even been mentioned as a possible Jerry Yang successor at one point). And, as PaidContent reports, Yahoo has been looking to sell its EU comparison engine Kelkoo, which Microsoft apparently considered buying but passed on.
There’s more discussion at Techmeme.