Overture to Acquire AltaVista

NEW YORK Overture, provider of pay-for-performance search to Web sites, has agreed to buy AltaVista, an Internet search company that is majority owned by CMGI, for $140 million.

The deal, which is expected to close in April upon customary approvals, calls for Overture to issue $80 million worth of common stock to Palo Alto, Calif.-based AltaVista, plus $60 million in cash. The Pasadena, Calif., company will also assume certain AltaVista liabilities.

The acquisition is meant to bolster Overture’s Web search offerings to portals, Internet service providers and other destination sites and marketing programs for advertisers. The company said AltaVista’s algorithmic search technology, which crawls the Web and returns relevant search results in response to users’ queries, will complement its commercial search technology.

Overture also said it plans to enhance AltaVista’s paid inclusion products and use AltaVista’s Web site to test new search services and marketing products for its advertisers.

Shares of Overture (OVER) were trading on the Nasdaq Thursday at $17.48, down 59 cents or 3.27 percent. The stock’s 52-week high is $35.70 and 52-week low is $17.40.