Microsoft Extends Overture Deal - TheStreet

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

renewed its paid search arrangement with Overture, giving a boost to the Web property recently acquired by

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

.

The companies said Friday that the agreement will provide Overture search results to U.S. and U.K. users of MSN Search. The extension runs through June 2005.

Terms weren't disclosed, but the deal may ease worries among Yahoo! investors about the value of its recently completed Overture acquisition. The Internet search engine business has grown rapidly in recent years and now ranks among the most lucrative niches on the Web.

With opportunity beckoning, the sector has had a topsy-turvy year, with Overture being grabbed by Yahoo! and many rumors floating around about Microsoft's prospects. Some investors have conjectured that Microsoft would be loath to maintain a relationship with a Yahoo!-owned Overture, a theory that has buoyed the shares of lesser rivals such as

FindWhat

(FWHT)

.

In early trading Friday, Microsoft and Yahoo! rose fractionally while FindWhat dropped 3 cents.