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Originally published Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 12:00 AM


Murdoch says he won't wrestle Microsoft for Yahoo

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said he isn't going to challenge Microsoft's attempt to buy Yahoo, narrowing options for the second-largest...

Bloomberg News

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said he isn't going to challenge Microsoft's attempt to buy Yahoo, narrowing options for the second-largest Internet search engine.

"We're not going to get into a fight with Microsoft; they've got a lot more money than us," Murdoch told investors Monday at a Bear Stearns conference in Palm Beach, Fla.

Yahoo rejected a $44.6 billion takeover bid from Microsoft a month ago. New York-based News Corp. and Yahoo held talks about a combination to block the bid, a person familiar with the exchange said last month.

Last week, Yahoo extended the deadline for nominating candidates to its board, allowing Chief Executive Jerry Yang to explore alternatives to Microsoft's offer.

Microsoft said Feb. 11 it may pursue "all necessary steps" to win over Yahoo shareholders, and a person with knowledge of the matter said last month that Microsoft may seek to oust Yahoo's directors.

Yahoo said last week it wants more time to explore options "without the distraction of a proxy contest." The nominating deadline, originally this Friday, will now be 10 days after Yahoo announces the date for its annual meeting, the company said.

Yahoo also is in talks about a deal with Time Warner's AOL unit, a person familiar with those discussions said.

Microsoft, trying to narrow Google's lead in online advertising and Internet searches, disclosed the offer for Yahoo on Feb. 1. Yahoo's board has deliberated for the past month on how to counter Microsoft's bid, which it says "substantially undervalues" the company.

"Microsoft will succeed in acquiring Yahoo," said Marianne Wolk, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group in New York."I don't know how you're going to be able to convince investors that another offer that's more of an equity offer or based on a combination of multiple businesses is as attractive."

News Corp.'s MySpace, the most-popular social-networking site, joined a software partnership in 2006 with Google, the top search engine.

News Corp. is "very happy" to be in the Google camp through the advertising search partnership, Murdoch said.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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