The internet investment firm headed by US media mogul Barry Diller is to buy web search engine Ask Jeeves for $1.85bn (£970m).
Ask Jeeves is the fifth most-queried search engine in the US and has a market value of $1.43bn, one tenth the size of Mr Diller’s IAC/InterActive.
Mr Diller said Ask Jeeves “has the potential to become one of the great brands on the internet”. The deal reflects rising competition between rival internet search engines.
“We are a small player in the land of the giants,” said Adrian Cox, chief executive of Ask Jeeves’ UK operations.
Mr Cox explained that the deal would provide Ask Jeeves with the financing and resources needed to continue its current “aggressive” growth rate.
He continued that the firm was confident of its ability to compete with rivals such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft’s MSN Search.