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Search Engine Firm Hires Former Overture Exec

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-10-26

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Walnut Ventures, which signed a letter of intent last week to merge and combine operations with MBSL Group, has added the former director of business development with Overture to its executive team.

Robert Hoult has been named Walnut's new Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Hoult has extensive experience in building strategic partnerships and in addition to heading Walnut's Business Development efforts, will be identifying and evaluating acquisition targets to support its aggressive growth strategy.

As Director of Business Development for Overture for five years, Hoult brokered a variety of Overture's largest distribution deals across multiple distribution channels. Prior to Overture, he spent five years with The Learning Company in Sales and Marketing where he was responsible for software sales and promotion across multiple retail channels.

Dan O'Donnell, CEO of Walnut said: "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to add a person of Robert's caliber to the Walnut management team. His extensive search industry experience and vast network of contacts gives us an industry heavyweight to head our business development efforts and drive our business forward as we complete our planned merger with MBSL and continue to work toward other acquisition targets."

Said Mr. Hoult: "I believe the business strategy that Walnut and MBSL offer is an ideal fit for my background. I look forward to joining the dynamic Walnut management team to help continue to build their search business and assist with acquisition strategy," he said.

MBSL Group Chairman Frank McPartland commented: "The strong management team that first attracted us to Walnut continues to get stronger."

As previously announced October 18, Walnut Ventures signed a letter of intent to merge into MBSL Group. Headquartered in San Francisco, Walnut owns a number of revenue producing Internet search properties that operate in the same space as firms like Google, Mamma.com, InfoSpace and AskJeeves. Walnut has long-standing partnerships with the top PPC search results providers and has a unique competitive advantage via its meta-search technology, which provides users with "one-stop shopping" for the best search results offered throughout the Internet.

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