Microsoft says goodbye to Ciao, sells online shopping guide to Group, a pan-European publisher of online shopping guides, comparison websites and the like, has acquired online shopping portal Ciao from Microsoft.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but says it paid for the Ciao assets in cash and didn’t need to take on debt to finance the transaction.

Founded in 1999 and present in 7 countries – Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and Sweden – Ciao is said to reach some 20.8 million unique visitors. Combined, claims, the online shopping guide network will reach close to 33 million unique users.

Acquired by Microsoft in August 2008 for close to half a billion dollars, Ciao also operated Microsoft’s Bing shopping engine in Europe.