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Shares of


rose 4% Monday on a report that



has emerged as the leading bidder in an auction to buy the business news Web site.

MarketWatch was up 55 cents to $13.80 after M&A journal

The Deal

said the auction is "Yahoo's to lose" despite competition from companies including


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MarketWatch was reported to be for sale last week for a price that reflects its $380 million market cap plus a premium. A source cited in the


story noted that Yahoo! has more than enough cash or equity to complete a transaction and isn't "afraid to pay a premium."

Final bids in the auction, which reportedly is being conducted by the investment bank


, are due this week, according to

The New York Times


Shares of MarketWatch, a competitor of this Web site, remain about 7% below their 52-week high of $14.87, touched last spring, although it has recovered nicely from the summer low of $7.70 hit during a general slump in tech shares. The stock has risen steadily since early September, when Viacom bought out public shareholders of, a company its CBS unit seeded with capital along with MarketWatch in 1997.

Viacom and Britain's


each own about 22% of MarketWatch.

Last Wednesday, MarketWatch reported third-quarter earnings of $949,000, or 4 cents a share, up from $393,000, or 2 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue, which included fees paid under a newswire venture with Thomson Financial, rose 71% from a year ago to $19.8 million.