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Overture buys FAST's web search biz

Paying up to $100m

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Overture is stumping up to $100m cash for the Internet business of Fast Search & Transfer (FAST). The keyword ad Johnny is shelling out $70m cash upfront and up to $30m in performance incentives to the Norwegian search firm over three years. In turn it gets FAST WebSearch, AlltheWeb.com, and FAST PartnerSite.

FAST says it will now focus on its enterprise search business, which currently accounts for 75 per cent of turnover. The deal is expected to close by April.

In the old days it used to be called doing business at Internet speed. Overture has certainly been bloody quick in recent days, buying up first AltaVista for $140m and now FAST. But maybe it has had to be quick. In December, Yahoo! a major customer, bought Inktomi for $235m in cash. At some point, Yahoo! surely will replace both Google and Yahoo! with Inktomi technology.

At the same time, Google is looming increasingly large, even if its pay-for-placement service is right now a fraction of the turnover - we guess - of Overture's. Google's traffic will ensure that sales will pick up.

So what was Overture to do? In essence it is doing a reverse Google, and Yahoo! So it is retrofitting its own search engine technology, which many claim is superior to Google, and it has its very own portal to play with. Admittedly, AltaVista has seen better days. Much better days. But if they can revive Napster (no they can't - ed), surely Overture can return AltaVista to a little of its former glory. ®

Related stories/link

Overture press release
AltaVista flogged to Overture
Yahoo! buys! Inktomi
Freeserve junks Inktomi, goes FAST
Search firms upgrade relevance, bells, whistles

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