Ask Jeeves buys Direct Hit

The search engine will be able to use the 'Popularity Engine,' which ranks searches by how often the results are used

Search company Ask Jeeves will acquire Direct Hit Technologies in a deal worth around $507m (£314m).

The deal calls for Ask Jeeves to exchange 5.12 million shares, approximately 12 percent of the company, for Direct Hit. Ask Jeeves closed at $99 Monday.

Ask Jeeves's search engine allows users to ask "natural language" questions. The service then returns a list of questions and lets users pick the answer they think best matches their query. The company said it will integrate Direct Hit's Popularity Engine, which ranks searches by how often the results are used, into its product.

Both Ask Jeeves and Direct Hit currently license their technology to other firms. Direct Hit's technology is used by AT&T WorldNet,, Go2Net, and ZDNet.

The new firm will reach more than 80 million Web users, the company said.

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