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PointCast Pushes for Acquisition

Troubled push technology provider PointCast Inc. is said to be in acquisition talks with several telcos, with BellSouth named at the leading contender.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based originator of "push" broadcasting has faced increasing competition against the big league portals, such as Yahoo! and others providing continually updated news. Push delivered content, once the industry's best known buzzword, declined in popularity because it consumed substantial bandwidth on corporate networks and was not suitable for home users on relatively slow modem links.

In May, PointCast announced plans for an initial public offering. The company planned to offer 3.75 million shares at $10 and $12 per share. On July 15, PointCast pulled the IPO, and said it was instead seeking a strategic partner.

"There are tremendous opportunities to strengthen and leverage our business through options that have recently emerged," said David Dorman, PointCast chairman, president and chief executive officer, at the time the IPO was pulled.

In 1997, News Corp. reportedly offered to buy the company for about $450 million, although industry insiders don't think PointCast could currently command that kind of cash.

In October, PointCast announced the reorganization of its senior management, in an effort to leverage its marketing and sales initiatives. Late last month, the company said it would stop serving Mac users at the end of the year. PointCast said Mac users made up only 5 percent of its membership, a number too small to justify continuing development.