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Microsoft sets three-week deadline for Yahoo buyout offer
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Microsoft Corp. gave on Saturday Yahoo a three-week deadline for moving forward on its buyout offer.

In a letter to the Yahoo Board of Directors, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that if the board does not respond by the deadline by April 26, Microsoft will take its case directly to Yahoo shareholders and work to elect a new slate of directors.

In January, Microsoft offered 44.6 billion dollars, or 62 percent above Yahoo's market value, to buy out Yahoo, but Yahoo has turned down the offer, saying the offer undervalues the company.

The deal is currently valued at about 41 billion dollars, based on Friday's closing share prices.

To counter Microsoft's buyout bid, Yahoo has since seeking alliances with Google Inc., News Corp.'s MySpace.com and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, but no alternative to Microsoft's offer has surfaced.

Ballmer acknowledged these alternative negotiations in the letter and questioned why the company is not negotiating with Microsoft.

"This is despite the fact that our proposal is the only alternative put forward that offers your shareholders full and fair value for their shares," Ballmer wrote in the letter. "During these two months of inactivity, the Internet has continued to march on, while the public equity markets and overall economic conditions have weakened considerably."

Ballmer said the Microsoft offer has grown stronger as the time has passed.

"We believe that the majority of your shareholders share this assessment," he wrote.

(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2008)

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