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Overture plans Australian unit

The paid-search company will set up a subsidiary in Australia to tap the growing commercial search market there.

Overture Services on Monday announced that it will launch its paid-placement search service in Australia by the end of 2003.

"Australia is a very promising commercial search market," Brian Steel, president of Overture International, said in a statement.

Citing Jupiter Research, the company said that the paid-search market in Australia is projected to grow at an annual compounded rate of 86 percent to about $41 million by 2005.

Overture said that its previously announced plans to launch in Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia by the end of the year remain on track. The company has already established an Asian foothold in Japan, in conjunction with Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN.

Search company Yahoo signed an agreement on July 14 to acquire Overture for $1.6 billion. Yahoo cited the increasing opportunity to tap into foreign advertising markets, specifically in Europe and Asia, saying that the deal made more sense than attempting to separately build holdings comparable to those of Overture.