Microsoft and Yahoo intensify takeover talks


New York : Microsoft and Yahoo executives intensified takeover talks Friday but could not reach agreement on a price for the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The intensified talks came a day after the Microsoft board met and gave company CEO Steve Ballmer broad authority to decide on how to proceed with the takeover attempt of Yahoo.

Microsoft wants to buy the web portal to stiffen its competition with Google for Internet advertising and software. But Yahoo has consistently rejected its $31 a share price, with many shareholders indicating they will sell only for $35 a share. Microsoft is believed to be willing to offer $33 a share.

Earlier reports said that Microsoft was leaning towards launching a hostile takeover bid for Yahoo, even though this could cause a long delay in developing strategic initiatives for both companies and prompt many of Yahoo’s most valuable employees to leave.

Microsoft had given the web portal until Saturday to accept its $41.9-billion offer but the deadline passed with no further comment from Yahoo, which had originally dismissed the bid as undervaluing the company, even though it represented a premium of 62 percent on the company’s pre-offer share price. If the deal goes through it would easily be the largest in Microsoft’s history.

Friday’s report coincided with the news that Yahoo and Google were close to reaching an advertising partnership that would see Google’s ads appearing on Yahoo sites. The move could boost Yahoo’s revenues by approximately $1 billion annually since Google’s ads have higher click-through rates than Yahoo’s.

However the move could face regulatory hurdles.