Web marketer



stock soared 16% on speculation that it is on the verge of being sold to San Francisco-based buyout firm Hellman & Friedman for $1.2 billion.

DoubleClick didn't comment on the report.


New York Post

reported on Thursday that the Web publishing and advertising services company was close to a possible sale.

Shares jumped $1.14 to $8.49 on the news. The company reports its first-quarter results this afternoon after the market close.



, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the deal, also said General Atlantic Partners and Cerberus Capital Management could outbid the Hellman & Freeman team.

According to sources close to Doubleclick, senior executives at the company were considering a going-private deal as recently as a month ago. That person also said that while he had heard that General Atlantic Partners was considering a purchase of the company that it did not fit the Ceberus profile.

"This is a company that never said 'we are for sale,'" said one Internet analyst. That analyst doesn't expect a fire sale but said that it is entirely reasonable that the company could be sold. "They're a company that has aggressively reorganized and optimized services without selling. They've got so many businesses that are valuable as part of a larger company. They have usable offerings but don't tend to lead the market."