Overture Shareholders OK Purchase by Yahoo!

NEW YORK Yahoo! completed its $1.63 billion acquisition of Overture yesterday.

Following yesterday’s approval of the cash-and-stock transaction from Overture’s stockholders, the commercial search company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Yahoo!

The deal, which was announced in July, advances Yahoo!’s objective of becoming a leader in commercial search, a burgeoning segment that is projected to grow from about $2 billion by year-end 2003 to approximately $5 billion by 2006, according to Piper Jaffray.

Combined, Yahoo! and Overture intend to expand pay-for-performance search into Yahoo!’s vertical properties, such as travel and Yellow Pages, and integrate contextual advertising throughout its network, including its sports, real estate and auto properties. Yahoo! also said it plans to offer Overture’s advertisers, the majority of which are small- and medium-size businesses, the ability to sell and promote online by purchasing a range of additional services, such as Web hosting.

“We believe the combined companies will provide the most diverse set of integrated marketing solutions on the Web for small and large business, as well as extend our advertising capabilities across the Yahoo! network and around the globe,” Terry Semel, chairman and chief executive of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo!, said in a statement.

Overture’s operations will remain in Pasadena, Calif., and its president Ted Meisel will continue to lead the company, reporting to Yahoo! chief operating officer Dan Rosensweig.

Yahoo! shares (YHOO) were trading on the Nasdaq midday at $38.88, down 5 cents. Its 52-week high is $39.90 and 52-week low is $9.01.