Fast Search & Transfer ASA

FAST Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Nextpage Publishing Applications Business Unit

    Oslo, Norway (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Acquisition to Expand FAST's Global Market Presence, Accelerate Creation of New Publishing SDA, and Further Strengthen the Company's Enterprise Search Focus

    Fast Search & Transfer(TM) (FAST(TM)), the leading developer of enterprise search and real-time alerting technologies, today announced a definitive agreement to acquire the Publishing Applications Business Unit from NextPage(R), including the NXT(R), Folio(R), LivePublish(TM) and GetSmart(TM) product lines, as well as over 500 revenue-generating NextPage customers. The customer base will include six of the world's top nine professional publishers, three of the world's top four accounting firms, and many of the world's leading financials services institutions. NextPage's document management service, Chrome(TM), will remain with NextPage. The deal is expected to close later this month.

    FAST's acquisition of NextPage's Publishing Applications Business Unit and its customers will allow FAST to further expand its global presence in the Publishing market, and accelerate the development of a new Search Derivative Application (SDA) for the Publishing sector based upon FAST's award-winning Enterprise Search Platform, FAST ESP(TM). While FAST already has a strong customer base and deep experience in the Publishing sector, the integration of NextPage's technology with FAST's Enterprise Search platform technology will expand FAST's offerings to publishers by providing them with the most advanced solutions for searching, retrieving, managing, and distributing their business-critical content.

    "FAST follows a strict set of criteria when evaluating acquisition opportunities," commented John M. Lervik, FAST's chief executive officer. "The NextPage business unit has fully satisfied these requirements with its strong search-focused customer base, solutions that easily integrate with FAST's Enterprise Search platform, and market-specific expertise that will accelerate the development of new SDAs for markets in which search applications provide business critical value, such as Publishing. We are very pleased with this agreement and believe it will position the Company extremely well for the future."

    As part of the agreement, FAST will assume 34 employees from NextPage, the majority of which are employed in the U.S. FAST will continue to offer full support and maintenance to NextPage customers without interruption.

    "This transaction benefits our customers," said Darren Lee, chief executive officer of NextPage. "By combining NextPage's experience and products in the publishing market, with FAST's world class enterprise search platform, it will further improve FAST's ability to offer the highest quality publishing applications. Together, these products will create enhanced value for our customers and partners."

    The NextPage Publishing Applications Business Unit comprises of NXT, a complete, 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 proven and widely adopted 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.

    Financial Summary of the NextPage Acquisition

    The aforementioned acquisition by FAST was acted upon in connection with the Company's overall strategy to explore M&A opportunities that yield accelerated growth within the enterprise search sector, focused around companies with a strong search focused customer base, subject matter expertise towards an SDA, and/or technologies that augment the value of the FAST enterprise search platform.

    NextPage will receive US$6 million in cash and be eligible to receive performance-based payments up to a maximum of US$9 million over four years. The deal is expected to close later in September 2004. 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. The revenues associated with the acquired NextPage Business Unit were in excess of US$6 million for the first eight months of 2004.

    About NextPage

    NextPage Document Management Services deliver the first ever solution for tracking documents across e-mail, hard drives and servers, on or offline. With NextPage, users end the document chaos that takes place whenever people try to coordinate and edit several versions of the same document. Teams and organizations rely on NextPage to reduce the risk of the wrong documents being edited, reviewed or made available. Since NextPage was established in July 1999, the company has been building profitable document applications. These solutions have been implemented by companies such as ABN AMRO Bank, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Deloitte & Touche, Wolters Kluwer and Reed Elsevier. For more information, visit or call 800-NEXTPAGE or 801-748-4400.

    About FAST

    FAST creates the real-time search and filter technology solutions that are behind the scenes at the world's best known companies with the most demanding search problems. FAST's flexible and scalable integrated technology platform elevates the search capabilities of enterprise customers and connects people to the relevant information they seek regardless of medium. This drives revenues and reduces total cost of ownership by effectively leveraging IT infrastructure. FAST's powerful enterprise search technology solutions are used by a wide range of global customers and partners, including AT&T, Cardinal Health,, Chordiant, CIGNA, CNET, Dell, Fidelity Investments, Findexa, (GSA), IBM, Knight Ridder, LexisNexis, Overture, Rakuten, Reed Elsevier, Reuters, Sensis, Tenet Healthcare, Thomas Industrial Networks, T-Online, US Army, Virgilio (Telecom Italia), Vodafone, and Wanadoo.

    FAST is headquartered in Norway and is publicly traded under the ticker symbol 'FAST' on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The FAST Group operates globally with presence in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Additionally, the FAST Group has business partners and customers in a number of other locations, such as Brazil, Canada and Australia. For further information about FAST, please visit

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Press Contact: Peter Gorman, Director of Corporate Communications
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