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Hassett Still Eyeing PointCast Takeover

PointCast founder Chris Hassett Tuesday retained New York investment bank Sands Brothers & Co. Ltd. to manage his potential acquisition of the "push" broadcasting pioneer he founded.

Hassett is currently rounding up the financial support he would need to reassume control of the company, although he has not specified any of the companies involved. He has also been unwilling to say how much the group would be willing to pay for PointCast.

In a statement released Tuesday, Hassett said if the deal goes through, he and his group of investors would hold a controlling stake in the company.

"PointCast has tremendous assets that continue to make it a strong Internet media company. Adding the appropriate capital, management and strategic vision make PointCast an exciting opportunity," he said.

Last Thursday, PointCast laid off 75 employees, or about a third of its work force. The company said the move was necessary after discussions with several possible suitors, among them leading Baby Bell telephone companies, fell through.

This development marks the latest in a long series of ups and downs for the company which took the Internet by storm when it was founded in 1992. PointCast turned down a $450 million buyout offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in 1997. PointCast ditched plans last year to take 20 percent of the company public.

PointCast also talked to several top media companies about buying a stake in the company, however no deal ever materialized.

After founding PointCast in 1992, Hassett left in 1997 and in March 1998 launched PrizePoint Entertainment, an Internet-based rewards program. Hassett and his family still own between 15 and 20 percent of PointCast.