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Microsoft to sell Greenfield survey business to ZM

Once the software giant's acquisition of Greenfield Online closes, it plans to sell off a piece of the business to ZM Capital.

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it's planning a quick hand-off in its pending acquisition of Greenfield Online, selling Greenfield's online Internet survey business to ZM Capital.

Microsoft's acquisition of Greenfield, a consumer shopping sites operator, and the hand-off of Greenfield's survey business to ZM Capital's ZM Surveys are expected to happen simultaneously in the fourth quarter. But the software giant noted its Greenfield deal is not contingent upon the side deal with ZM Surveys.

Greenfield's Internet survey solutions (ISS) business collects, organizes, and sells consumer and business survey data to market research firms as well as offers real-time survey sampling. But the service does not fit in Microsoft's game plan for its Live Search.

"It was very important to Microsoft to find the right partner to champion the continued growth of the Greenfield Online ISS business, which is not a fit within Microsoft's strategy for our Live Search platform," Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Windows and Online Services at Microsoft, said in a statement.

She added that the ISS sale will allow Redmond to focus on the part of Greenfield it plans to keep, as well as its Ciao comparison shopping business, in a move to aid its European commercial search strategy.

Microsoft is acquiring Greenfield for $486 million. Financial terms of the ZM Capital deal were not disclosed.