Overture Closes FAST Deal

Overture Services has completed its purchase of FAST’s Web search unit, and expects to close it acquisition of AltaVista by month’s end.

The deals will allow the Pasadena, Calif., firm to offer paid placement, paid inclusion and algorithmic Web search products and services to portals, Internet service providers and other search destination sites.

Additionally, Overture gains top technical talent, including Tim Mayer, former vice president of Web Search at FAST. Mayer, who was previously at Inktomi, led upgrades and other high-profile projects for FAST.

“This acquisition will provide the resources and innovative capabilities Overture needs to become the market leader in search relevance, index size and freshness of content,” Mayer said.

Overture paid $70 million in cash for the FAST division. It could pay out another $30 million in performace incentives over the next three years. The AltaVista buy is worth $140 million in cash and stock.

Today, Overture said it will use AlltheWeb.com, FAST’s search technology showcase Web site, to test and experiment new approaches in search as it continues to battle with Google and others in the increasingly competitive search sector.

For its part, FAST will focus on enterprise search. The company, which is based in Oslo, Norway, and has offices in Wellesley, Mass., is tight-lipped about what it will do with the cash from the Overture deal.

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