If Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) executives decided to celebrate their latest acquisition with local cuisine, I'm sure they felt right at home. They'd just need a latte to go with the salmon, and a chance to get used to some lutefisk.

Mr. Softy just agreed to pay about $1.2 billion for Norwegian enterprise search specialist Fast Search and Transfer (OTC BB: FASRF.PK), a 42% premium to the previous day's closing price on the Oslo stock exchange. Microsoft plans to build a global business unit around the Trondheim-based company. CEO John Lervik tells local newspapers that he will remain in charge "for the foreseeable future, which means at least three years," and the company has recently restructured itself to make a clean, easy fit with a larger acquirer.

Don't expect a bidding war to erupt over Fast, though. Other massive, information-centric companies like Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) or Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) could probably find good use for Fast, and Lervik hinted at Microsoft having tried and failed to come up with a solution all its own to the enterprise search problem. But the two largest shareholders have already pledged their support for this deal. They were also involved in the negotiations at an early stage, according to Norwegian news outlets.

So what is Fast doing that made the Seattle giant reach for the checkbook? Business software division president Jeff Raikes explained that he could "find football scores online in five seconds, but inside somebody's company it can take five hours to track down last year's business plan." Build a top-notch content management and intranet search solution like Fast's products into the SharePoint platform, and then deliver the new beast to Microsoft clients the world over -- and presto! You have gone a long way toward solving that conundrum, on a much larger distribution scale than Fast could handle on its own.

The competition for Fast comes from mostly small operations like Convera (Nasdaq: CNVR) and British firm Autonomy, though IBM (NYSE: IBM) is dipping its big, blue toe in these waters with its newish OmniFind application. The Ciscos and Googles of the world might just pick up one of the minnows in that bunch, if they deem the business opportunity large enough. Google could use a software-based search solution to complement its own enterprise search appliances, and we all know how deal-happy Cisco can be when the mood strikes.

It's not a world-changing event for Microsoft investors, though it does open up new markets and should bring in a respectable stream of new revenue without much of the customary integration pains. Fast's restructuring helps, and the companies already have major partners like EMC (NYSE: EMC) in common, which further eases the transition. And again, the new enterprise-search headquarters will remain in Norway, saving relocation headaches.

So Fast shareholders in general are happy, and quite a bit richer today than they were last week. But Fast co-founder Arne Halaas would rather have seen his baby staying uniquely Norwegian, though he stands to make millions of dollars from the sale. "What am I going to do with the money?" he asked a Norwegian newspaper. "I'm no investor, and have never really had much interest in investing."

Now there's a sentiment you don't hear too often. A round of lutefisk and akvavit in your honor, Mr. Halaas!

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Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Google shareholder, but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He likes lutefisk and loves akvavit. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is fresher than North Sea salmon on a crisp November afternoon.