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Overture buying Alta Vista

$140 million is the price

   
9:41 pm on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Read all about it [cbs.marketwatch.com]

Overture is to buy Alta Vista for $140 million.

Guess this is one of the "enhancements" we were told would happen as part of the sweetener for 10 cent minimum bids.

8:03 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)



At just one of my web-sites:

Out of approx. 9243 visitors over the last 104 days, I've had 63 visitors from Alta Vista. 1.63 percent. I'm ranked top 10/20 for my important keywords in AV.

Netscape and Ask Jeeves have given me more traffic than Alta Vista, but only slightly more.

Here's another anti-shocker. I've gotten more traffic from several quality, theme related links added in the last 50 days, than AV in the last 104.

More traffic from a link exchange in half the time than top 10/20 ranking in AV. (!?)

$140 million?

As far as I am concerned, AV is just your run of the mill web site. Over-priced and over-rated. As far as traffic importance, just an average web-site with a lot of history, a spider and a few bells and whistles.

I worry more about what Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN are up to, in that order.

Heck, I will now worry about what 20 of my best link partners are up to. I hope none of them sell out for $140 million. I'd hate to lose their traffic.

Point made.

PS Someone mentioned LookSmart, Looksmart itself has given me 14 visitors. Wisenut doesn't even show up on my radar.

<added> I measure unique visitors on my home page only at that website.</added>

[edited by: Zapatista at 8:23 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2003]

8:16 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



The altavista brand name was worth $140 million alone. Overture bought that, and got a search engine thrown in as a gratuity.
8:29 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)



I suppose you're right Brett. But now that I've examined my own stats more carefully in relation to this, I'm gaining a new fondness for quality link exchanges and less for those who call themselves a "search engine." - And as a principle of marketing, diversification of traffic sources is always a smart approach.
8:55 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Wed 2:13pm YHOO Overture Challenges Google with AltaVista Grab - NewsFactor

[story.news.yahoo.com...]

All best

9:04 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Conference Call Details

Overture will be holding a conference call to discuss today's news at 5 PM Eastern/2 PM Pacific. To participate via telephone, please dial 1-888-390-3404 (passcode OVER).

To participate via the Internet, log on to www.overture.com 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to download any necessary software. A replay of the call will be available at www.overture.com shortly after the live call ends.

9:36 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)



Sheez, Overture stock took a beating. Down $4.72 a share to 18.07. Guess investors didn't think it was a good idea.
9:36 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



OVER big loser on nasdaq today -20% on downgrade
10:14 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Wasn't the conference call yesterday?
10:37 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



OVER stock is now 18.07 - a PE of 15 for a profitable company growing earnings faster than 20% per year. I'm buying.
10:50 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



"Guess investors didn't think it was a good idea."

My guess it is a large factor of the reasons behind the purchase, the upcoming loss of yahoo.

4:56 am on Feb 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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omg....I am soooo buying.

montley fool (and bnhall) hit it dead on.

8:37 pm on Feb 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Wondering why Overture stock has dropped over $5.00 since the announcement...that's almost 25%.
1:02 am on Feb 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a stock trading kinda guy but won't the value of current stock be diluted by the new issues used to pay for Altavista?
10:25 pm on Feb 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Could be...but they seem to be attributing it to a lower profit outlook with their expanded revenue forecast... and I think somewhat of a miscalculation of the 'effect.'

[biz.yahoo.com...]

3:37 am on Feb 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



After re-reading the two Overture conference call articles and Overture's press release about the acquisition, and given the MSN-Inktomi deal announced after this thread started, here's my revised take on the situation.

Overture's President and CEO Ted Meisel stressed in a conference call, "We do not believe we are creating a competitor for our partners," however the top reason given for the acquisition is 'to syndicate AltaVista’s advanced algorithmic search technology.'
[biz.thestar.com.my...]

The February 18 Overture press release also gives as first motivation, "The acquisition will enable Overture to offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites."
[corporate-ir.net...]

The new long-term MSN-Overture deal suggests that MSN agreed with Meisel that Overture by buying Alta Vista was not creating a competitor for Overture's partners.

Nevertheless, search was the top motivation given for the purchase.

That means, if we trust their public statements, that Overture is planning to use Alta Vista to "offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites" that does not create "a competitor for our partners."

What could that be? I'm thinking tonight that it means creating a turnkey search product (including PPC, PFI and free search) for second-tier portals (non-"competitors"), and any ISP or destination site. Sort of a one-stop shop to compete with the all-in-one Google/Adwords for smaller traffic generating sites.

The second motivation was given in their press release as, "Additionally, AltaVista's Web site will allow Overture to test and refine new products and services in a live setting."

Combine that statement with Meisel's February 6 statement (from the link in Zoron's post) that Overture had "underinvested" in future growth.

Overture could use Alta Vista to test small new products or, perhaps, even major rewrites of it's PPC engine. Already - to me - Overture's backend seems antiquated compared to AdWords.

Overture has "underinvested" in product development and has fallen behind, in my opinion. Indeed, the next generation of products could push the current Overture towards obvious obsolesence.

But they couldn't make a major switch within their current system, Overture is just too vast to make large changes. A new product would need massive live testing and refinement, first.

Anyway, you can expect Alta Vista to be the testing ground for new Overture products.

There may be international reasons as well. International growth is a top priority of Overture according to the February 6 conference call. However, since Overture did not mentioned that as a justification for the Alta Vista purchase (according to the press accounts above or the press release), I'm going to set it aside for now.

4:52 pm on Feb 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Learning_Curve said: "There may be international reasons as well."

AV Spain, France & Italy use Espotting now - so as a side bonus of the deal, Overture/AltaVista will have a toe in those markets & consumer traffic from day one when they launch there (they are in France already). Not masses of traffic though, I suspect.

Useful for putting on marketing materials too - esp. when the reader isn't savy enough to look into AV's market share.

This piece by NetImperative [netimperative.com...] suggests the pressure to grow that stems from being a public company pushed them to make the move.

6:22 pm on Feb 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Whoops! Correction.

Please nix all references to the recent MSN deal in my post above. That deal isn't directly related to Overture.

However, if MSN can contract with Inktomi despite Inktomi being owned by Yahoo, then Overture's purchase of Alta Vista shouldn't scare off any Overture partners.

2:31 am on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



um...maybe my posts were too long for ppl to want to read. :P

...buuuut I thought I said pretty clearly, that it seemed mostly likely AV purchase was for updating their search (potential in lieu of editoral reviewers) and creating new turnkey products for use in the US and abroad. I think the conference call only confirmed that.

also, that buying OVER stock now is a bargain hunters dream. Once general investors realize that OVER isn't trying to develop AV to its "former glory", it'll rocket back. IE: once the stock rebounds...you just AV for free. ;)

4:14 am on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



GrendelKhan TSU - I guess we agree!

The whole "updating their search" argument wasn't convincing to me at first - it certainly didn't justify the price - until I thought about Overture's antiquated system and how difficult it would be for them to transition to a better system.

"Updating" to me meant tweaking and improving their current system. Now, I suspect Overture really intends to "re-engineer" which better justifies the price.

On new "turnkey" products, last week I really didn't understand why that was important. "Turnkey" always sounds like sales b.s. and my brain ignores it.

But after mulling it over for a few days, it makes sense that Overture would want to have a product for the smaller-than-Yahoo-and-MSN sites that wasn't dependent on the site buying separately the free listings and then having to integrate the two search results.

Those sites would, no doubt, appreciate a simpler all-in-one solution, like Google/AdWords or a future Overture/Alta Vista.

8:35 pm on Mar 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Not sure how many knew this, but I though I'd post it anyway. Quoted from: DMNEWS 3/3/2003 issue.

They did a small piece on OV buying AV and Fast. It says that OV share price immediately dropped by 20% when the AV announcement was made and another 12% when the FAST one was made. It also states that M$ was rumored to have been eyeing AV and FAST.

Anywho, just though I'd put it out there. I found it interesting. These are some BIG drops.

8:38 pm on Mar 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yeah, shareholders weren't too amused, it was covered here.
Anyway, I do not think the story is over yet.
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