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Ovitz, Yucaipa Take Control Of Multimedia Search Engine

Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz and Yucaipa Cos. Thursday made their third Internet buy in less than a month, taking control of Scour.Net, a Web site which searches multimedia content on the Internet.

Scour.Net was started in 1997 by five computer science students at UCLA. Terms weren't disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reported a recent lawsuit revealed Ovitz and Ron Burkle, who heads Yucaipa, paid $4 million for a 51 percent stake.

That lawsuit alleged Scour.Net had backed out of an agreement to sell the pair controlling interest. It was settled as part of the deal, although no mention of it was made in the statement announcing the buy.

Scour.Net reportedly draws 1.5 million page views a day. Plans call for Scour.Net to be expanded into an "entertainment suite" for broadband users.

Richard Wolpert, Yucaipa's partner in charge of Internet ventures, said the new offering will give the increasing number of broadband users compelling entertainment.

"A large portion of Scour's user base comes from @Home which clearly shows that Scour's users are embracing the broadband movement and using Scour for their online access to digital media. And this is the perfect fit with our strategy to help build strong Internet and entertainment companies on the Web," he said.

Dan Rodrigues, Scour.Net's 23-year-old chief executive, will continue to manage the operation. He said the investment will allow the company to expand its efforts to make broadband content easily accessible.

"At Scour.Net, we are committed to providing broadband users with an unparalleled entertainment experience and access to the most compelling content offerings on the Net. In addition, this investment will help us forge ahead to bring on new strategic partners which will allow us to further expand and grow," he said.

Thursday's deal is the latest in a recent series for Ovitz and Yucaipa. In May, the group created CheckOut.com, which will sell music, games and videos online. Earlier this month, they took a stake in GameSpy Industries Inc., a network of Internet sites for online gamers.



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