Overture Services


is firming up its foothold overseas.

The pay-per-click Internet search engine operator said Friday it had won a multiyear extension of its exclusive distribution agreement with dominant U.K. portal Freeserve.com.

In addition, Overture says it reached an agreement to become the exclusive provider of pay-per-click services on Wanadoo.fr and Voila.fr, two French Internet properties owned by Freeserve.com parent

France Telecom



The agreements illustrate Overture's ongoing efforts to expand its business worldwide. Overture, originally known as GoTo.com, operates a search engine in which the highest-appearing results for each query come from advertisers who have placed the highest bids on the search terms -- say, online booksellers who have bid on the word "books." Advertisers pay Overture only when searchers click on their listing to go to their particular site; Overture shares that money with distribution partners who use Overture's engine on their Web site.

At times over the past year, Overture's shares have swung sharply on news that the company has renewed its agreement with certain sites, or failed to renew them.

Earlier this month, Overture said that its agreement with Freeserve, which had been set to expire in November, would be extended into February, presumably while the companies continued to negotiate a longer term agreement.

In other recent distribution announcements, Overture has publicized deals with

AOL Time Warner's


CNN and

Yahoo! Japan.

Friday afternoon, Overture's shares were up 71 cents, to $28.11.