Microsoft is set to add to its Live Search offering through the acquisition of Greenfield Online, owner of comparison site Ciao.

In an announcement, the two companies said that Microsoft will pay $486 million (£268.9 million) for Greenfield, rendering the latter’s merger agreement with affiliates of Quadrangle Group void.

Microsoft will also sell off Greenfield’s internet survey solutions business to an unnamed buyer.

Tami Reller, corporate vice-president and chief financial officer for Windows and online services at Microsoft, explained that the acquisition of Ciao will help the company to expand in the European search and e-commerce sector.

She said: "The team at Ciao has built a passionate consumer community based on intuitive technology and extensive merchant relationships that we believe will deliver incremental benefit to the Microsoft Live Search platform."

In related news, Microsoft’s recently redesigned Live Search US homepage is set to see its background image updated on a daily rather than weekly basis, according to an official Live Search blog post.

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