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Report: Microsoft Board Mulls Yahoo! Options

An announcement could come later Wednesday.
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SAN FRANCISCO -

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

are reportedly meeting Wednesday in an effort to end a merger standoff between the two companies.

Unnamed sources have told the

Wall Street Journal

that both sides are trying to reach an agreement on price. Microsoft, which on Jan. 31 proposed an unsolicited takeover of Yahoo! for $31 a share, is now allegedly poised to offer as much as $32 or $33 a share. But major Yahoo! shareholders are gunning for something in the range of $35 to $37 per share, the

Journal

said.

Yahoo! could not immediately be reached for comment. Microsoft offered no comment beyond its previous statements on its Web site.

Earlier this month, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer imposed a three-week deadline by when Yahoo! would have to come to the table to negotiate a deal or else the software giant would initiate a proxy fight to oust Yahoo!'s board of directors.

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That deadline passed on Saturday with no word from either side. But the

Journal

is now reporting that Ballmer, with the help of

Bear Stearns

(BSC)

CEO Alan Schwartz, who has been serving as an advisor, is trying to convince Yahoo! shareholders to pressure the board.

Yahoo! so far has refused Microsoft's proposal, deeming it to substantially undervalue the Internet provider's worth. Yahoo! has sought alternatives to the deal, including a potential relationship with

Time Warner's

(TWX)

AOL division. It has also outsourced some of its online ads in the U.S. to

Google

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

in a two-week test, but it is unclear whether anything more substantial will come out of it.

Shares of Yahoo! closed at $27.41, up less than 1%, or 5 cents a share. Microsoft closed $28.52, down less than 1%, or 12 cents.