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PointCast can't be bought

Responding to published reports that it's entered buyout talks with News Corporation, PointCast says it currently plans to remain independent.

PointCast, responding to published reports that it has entered buyout talks with News Corporation, today said it currently plans to remain independent.

"While PointCast has been approached from time to time by unsolicited acquirers, our present intention is to remain independent," said Chris Hassett, its chief executive and president, in a statement.

Company spokeswoman Jeanette Gibson said the published reports are "rumors, and there are no negotiations."

PointCast reportedly had received a $350 million to $450 million cash offer from News Corporation and was in talks, according to a story today in the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, James Platt, a News spokesman, said: "As with any market rumors, we don't comment on them."

Hassett has previously said he plans to take the company public, given the right market conditions. And those conditions may be favorable in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Kevin R. Harvey, a PointCast board member and general partner of Benchmark Capital, which invested in the company.

The market for technology IPOs is a tough sell these days, though. Technology IPOs have hit hard times since the summer, when the door virtually slammed shut on "conceptual" high-tech deals--companies launched without profits or substantial revenues. The market, however, has loosened a bit since October as investors seek deals that demonstrate revenues and profits before they are floated out.

PointCast has financed its growth through $48 million in private funding.

The company, however, is coming up against an increasing number of competitors like Netscape, which is developing its push technology, code-named Constellation.