Lazard Freres & Co. to Assess Sale Potential

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NEW YORK ( -- Internet advertising-services company DoubleClick announced today it has hired New York investment bank Lazard Freres & Co. to "explore strategic options for the business" to improve shareholder value.

Doubleclick said its options include a sale of part or all of its businesses or a spin-off, as well as transactions such as an extraordinary dividend or share repurchase.

William Blair advertising analyst Troy Mastin applauded the decision, saying he was "only surprised that action did not come earlier."

In a report to investors, Mr. Mastin put the value of DoubleClick shares at around $10, but the stock closed last Friday at $6.36 and has traded as low as $5 in the last 52 weeks.

Shares were up 12.4% to $7.14 by mid-morning after the announcement.

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