updated 03:40 pm EDT, Wed October 5, 2011
Microsoft looking again at buying Yahoo
(Update: possibly no) Fresh leaks have hinted that Microsoft is entertaining the idea of buying Yahoo again. Tipsters told Reuters that Microsoft was taking advantage of the disruption at Yahoo to take over the early search pioneer. It might get a partner to help out, such as an equity partner.
They also backed leaks that Alibaba was seriously interested, along with Russian investment firm DST Global and more.
Neither side would comment.
A Microsoft bid, if accepted, would most likely take advantage of Yahoo's weakened stance. The Windows developer had tried a hostile takeover in 2008 that would have been worth over $30 billion and required Microsoft take out a loan to cover the deal. Yahoo's collapse in stock value now makes it $18 billion and a much easier target for a Microsoft that's in a stronger position.
Yahoo in some ways has already conceded to Microsoft through its search deal handing over core search to Bing. A full takeover could likely be a pure market share grab that would eventually close down some Yahoo services. It may be a gamble for Microsoft, though, as it's already losing hundreds of millions of dollars every quarter trying to gain share for Bing and compete against Google.
Update: a follow-up claim has Microsoft in the reverse situation. It's supposedly making clear that it won't bid but that it might help finance a buyout from someone else to make sure it goes through. An AllThingsD source joked that Microsoft didn't need to take control of Yahoo since it already had all it could possibly want with the existing ad and search deals.