Yahoo ends talks with Microsoft, possibly nears Google deal

Yahoo ends talks with Microsoft, possibly nears Google deal

Looks close to an agreement with Google involving its search advertising business.

On Feb. 11, Yahoo rejected Microsoft's Feb. 1 official bid for the company of about $44.6 billion, claiming it was too low. This set about several weeks of negotiations between the companies.

During that time, Yahoo did everything it could to avoid an acquisition by Microsoft, seeking other suitors and striking the deal with Google to test Google's AdSense for Search service as one of the Web publishers that carry pay-per-click text ads from Google.

Yahoo also attempted to buy time when Microsoft threatened to mount a proxy battle for the company, which it implied it would do first in a letter to the company on Feb. 12 and later in harsher terms in a letter to Yahoo's board on April 5.

For example, on March 5, Yahoo lifted the following week's deadline for nominating directors to its board, an attempt to discourage Microsoft from trying to replace the current board with members willing to approve its Yahoo acquisition bid.

Yahoo also unveiled a flurry of product and strategy announcements in the months following Microsoft's bid, pointing out that each initiative proved it could continue go it alone as an independent company.

Microsoft eventually pushed the price it was willing to pay for Yahoo up about $5 billion, or to $33 per share, but Yahoo still wasn't happy with the price. Yahoo executives later claimed it was Microsoft that ultimately walked away from the deal the first time.

In the days that followed before Icahn mounted his proxy battle, Microsoft distanced itself from Yahoo and executives said the company was moving on. Yahoo executives, meanwhile, seemed to backpedal when it became clear board members and investors weren't happy with the deal falling through, and said they would be open to being acquired for the right price if Microsoft or another suitor came calling.

Linda Rosencrance from Computerworld contributed to this report.

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