Microsoft-Yahoo Talks Back On

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Microsoft is back at the negotiating table with Yahoo, but this time it is looking to strike a deal that doesnit involve buying all of the Internet search and advertising company. The new proposal apparently would see Yahoo selling off part of the company instead of succumbing to a full buyout.

Microsoft said in a statement that it is "considering and has raised with Yahoo an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo."

Yahoo issued a response that said in part "Yahoo has confirmed with Microsoft that it is not interested in pursuing an acquisition of all of Yahoo at this time. Yahoo and its Board of Directors continue to consider a number of value maximizing strategic alternatives for Yahoo, and we remain open to pursuing any transaction which is in the best interest of our stockholders," indicating that the company is still open to negotiating with Microsoft.

Microsoft presented Yahoo with a $44.6 billion unsolicited buyout offer in February after the Internet search and advertising company reported disappointing earnings. Yahoo rejected the offer and continued to do so even after Mr. Ballmer presented the company with an ultimatum that threatened a hostile take over attempt.

The two companies did agree to negotiate, but Microsoft eventually dropped its offer after deciding the deal no longer made fiscal sense.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, however, wasnit happy with the outcome and said Yahoo "completely botched" the deal. He has since launched his own proxy battle to oust Yahoois board of directors and push the two companies back to the negotiating table.

There is no word on whether or not Mr. Icahnis actions were an incentive for both companies to open new talks, but Microsoft did hint that it is willing to listen to what he has to say -- and that a full buyout isnit necessarily off the table. "Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo or Microsoft or with other third parties," the company said.

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