Microsoft Corp. said Friday it agreed to buy research firm Greenfield Online Inc., in a $486 million deal that will expand the software maker's access to consumer data to aid future online services.
The deal follows Microsoft's failed attempt to buy Yahoo Inc. this year for more than $45 billion. Without Yahoo, the software company is now trying to complement its own online services with smaller acquisitions.
Greenfield, based in Wilton, Conn., uses the Internet to survey panels of travelers, shoppers, pet owners, doctors and other consumers and professionals around the world. Its clients include consumer products makers such as gas and charcoal grill maker Weber-Stephens Products Co. Microsoft will pay $17.50 a share for Greenfield, which is traded on the Nasdaq stock market.