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Microsoft buys airfare predictor Farecast

The software maker buys the Seattle-based travel search engine, which helps predict which way air fares are headed. It's mum on just how it plans to use the service.

Microsoft confirmed Thursday that it has acquired Seattle-based Farecast, a travel site that offers an engine predicting whether airfares for a given route are headed up or down.

"Farecast has been a partner of ours on MSN Travel and we look forward to working closely with the Farecast team to incorporate and apply its technology in new and interesting ways," Microsoft PR director Whitney Burk said in a statement.

The travel site's CEO, Hugh Crean, also posted a brief blog on Farecast's site announcing the sale to Microsoft, but adding few details.

"This acquisition creates tremendous opportunities for the Farecast team and our customers," Crean said. "We look forward to sharing more details in the weeks to come."

Techcrunch reported that Microsoft paid $115 million for the site, a figure Microsoft declined to confirm. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer had said last week that Farecast had been sold for more than $75 million, but didn't name the buyer.

In January 2007, Farecast said it raised $12.1 million in Series C funding, and had raised $20.6 million to that point.