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Microsoft and Yahoo met to discuss merger: sources

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Senior executives from Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and Yahoo Inc YHOO.O met on Monday to discuss Microsoft's takeover bid for the company, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A man drives a Mini Cooper with a Yahoo logo in front of Yahoo Inc headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, February 1, 2008. Microsoft Corp and Yahoo met on Monday to discuss Microsoft's takeover offer for the Internet company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. REUTERS/Kimberly White

The meeting was said to be the first since Microsoft made its unsolicited offer for Yahoo, worth nearly $42 billion, on January 31. Yahoo rejected the offer as inadequate last month.

The meeting was not a negotiation and no bankers were present, one of the sources said.

The session was intended to allow Microsoft to present its vision of a combined company, and Yahoo executives mostly listened, the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Financial terms were not discussed and it was unclear which executives took part, the Journal said.

Microsoft and Yahoo spokesmen declined to comment.

Since Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s offer last month, no other bids have been made public nor has Microsoft sweetened its bid, leaving the two companies in a stalemate.

Yahoo has held talks with News Corp NWSa.N and Time Warner Inc's TWX.N AOL, sources told Reuters. The meeting with Microsoft is part of the company's strategy to keep all its options open, people familiar with the matter said.

Yahoo recently extended the deadline for nominations to its board of directors in an effort seen by analysts and investors as forestalling a potential hostile effort by Microsoft.

Microsoft had originally proposed to pay nearly $45 billion for Yahoo, but the value of its offer has since declined to less than $42 billion as its shares have fallen 12 percent.

Microsoft shares were down 27 cents, or 1 percent, at $28.39 in Friday morning trade on the Nasdaq, while Yahoo shares were down 60 cents, or 2.2 percent, at $26.90.

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has said he would not fight Microsoft for a Yahoo deal.

AOL on Thursday said it was buying the social networking site Bebo, in a move that some say signals that its parent, Time Warner, has plans that do not involve Yahoo.

Reporting by Eric Auchard and Anupreeta Das, Daisuke Wakabayashi in Seattle, Jui Chakravorty and Yinka Adegoke in New York, editing by Jacqueline Wong