The Butler is growing bigger again. This morning, Ask Jeeves announced the acquisition of the Excite European network from Italy’s Tiscali SpA., giving Ask open access to the rapidly expanding European search market.

“This deal is a next step in Ask Jeeves’ European expansion strategy,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Ask Jeeves, Inc. “Access to Excite’s pan-European operational infrastructure and market knowledge will accelerate our European growth initiative and provide an instant revenue stream from additional users and advertisers.”

Ask Jeeves, which is about to be acquired by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, already owns the US-based portal Exite.Com which it acquired in March of last year.

The purchase gives Ask a substantial leg up in the European search advertising market where Ask Jeeves already has a fairly strong UK foothold. Acquired assets include portals in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and Austria, along with a decade of pan-European marketing knowledge and connections.

While Excite will continue to operate under its own brand name, paid search advertising is expected to be generated by AJInteractive, the US-based partnership between Ask Jeeves and Interactive Search Holdings. Excite Europe will continue to operate out of its Rome headquarters.