Murdoch leaves door open to joint Yahoo bid

WASHINGTON Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:59am EDT

News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch smiles during a news conference before the 2008 Atlantic Council Awards Dinner in Washington April 21, 2008. News Corp's Rupert Murdoch left the door open on Monday to a joint bid with Microsoft Corp to buy Yahoo Inc, a day ahead of Yahoo's quarterly financial report. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch smiles during a news conference before the 2008 Atlantic Council Awards Dinner in Washington April 21, 2008. News Corp's Rupert Murdoch left the door open on Monday to a joint bid with Microsoft Corp to buy Yahoo Inc, a day ahead of Yahoo's quarterly financial report.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - News Corp's NWSa.N Rupert Murdoch left the door open on Monday to a joint bid with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) to buy Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O), a day ahead of Yahoo's quarterly financial report.

In response to a reporter's question about his interest in pursuing a bid with Microsoft for Yahoo, he said "Depends on the deal."

Murdoch also repeated earlier remarks about not having the financial fire power to top Microsoft's bid. "I certainly can't afford to bid against Microsoft (for Yahoo)," he told attendees at a speech he gave at the Atlantic Council, an international affairs group.

The 77-year-old media mogul said Google is gaining influence in the advertising world. "Is Google really going to get control of the advertising world, and should Microsoft be supported in their attempt to try and stop that?" he asked.

Yahoo is expected to report its first quarter results on Tuesday. Strong results could force Microsoft to raise its estimated $43 billion offer, some analysts have said.

Separately, sources have said Yahoo is pursuing a deal to merge with Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) AOL Internet division. Yahoo is also set to complete tests this week with Google Inc (GOOG.O) on whether Google should run a piece of Yahoo's Web search ad sales.

Yahoo faces a Saturday deadline to respond to Microsoft, after which Microsoft has said it would launch a proxy battle to unseat Yahoo's board.

(Reporting by Peter Kaplan; Editing by Tim Dobbyn.)

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