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MS raises Yahoo bid as talks intensify

Experts believe the offer comes after Redmond, Washington-based software, raised its offer beyond the original value of $44.6 bn.
AP | By HT Correspondent, San Francisco
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2008 01:52 PM IST

Microsoft Corp finally dangled a higher takeover bid in front of Yahoo Inc, hoping to reach a friendly deal after weeks of saber rattling.

The Redmond, Washington-based software maker upped its offer beyond the original value of $44.6 billion, or $31 per share, according to a person familiar with the matter. The specifics of the new offer weren't known by this person, who didn't want to be identified because the negotiations are still confidential.

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Microsoft boosted the offer "by several dollars" per share, lending weight to the assertion by many market analysts that Microsoft can afford to pay up to $35 a share.

Representatives from Microsoft and Yahoo declined to comment on the negotiations. The talks were expected to continue into the weekend.
In an intriguing twist, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Yahoo President Susan Decker were both expected to be in Omaha, Nebraska, this weekend to attend Berkshire Hathaway Inc's annual meeting. Both Gates and Decker are on the board of the company led by famed investor Warren Buffett.

The prospect of a sweetened offer lifted Yahoo shares 80 cents in extended trading after surging $1.86, or nearly 7 per cent, to finish the regular session at $28.67.

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo began pressing for a higher offer shortly after Microsoft made its unsolicited bid in February. That offer, which was made half in cash and half in stock, is currently valued at $42.3 billion, or $29.40 per share, reflecting the decline in Microsoft shares since it began its pursuit of the Internet pioneer.

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