It is like a Valentine’s Day duel by rival knights in shining armour to woo a high-class damsel weak in the legs. Media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp emerged on Thursday as a likely suitor for Yahoo to rescue the Internet media giant from the clutches of software titan Microsoft Corp, whose $42.1 billion takeover offer it spurned.
<b1>The Wall Street Journal, controlled by Murdoch, reported that a deal being discussed would give News Corp more than a 20 per cent stake in Yahoo. It said the talks valued News Corp's MySpace online socialising site at between $6 billion and $10 billion.
Yahoo is ailing but has a global reach with about 250 million active registered e-mail users, who can be a ready market for Microsoft and News Corp.
Yahoo is strong on its Instant Messenger and banner ads. Microsoft can churn out consumer software applications but is weak on the e-mail and social networking front. Murdoch’s MySpace is a key rival to Google’s Orkut and Facebook, in which Microsoft has a minority stake.
Search giant Google and US’s leading Internet service provider AOL are also ready to help Yahoo. Media group Time-Warner recently spun off AOL as a separate business — possibly to facilitate any merger deal, while Google, leading the search ad business, could do with banner control — and anything that would upset Microsoft.
Yahoo, on Monday, turned down Microsoft’s bid, saying it did not properly assess the worth of its audience and growth prospects.