Microsoft 'close to Yahoo! search deal'

LONDON - Microsoft is said to be on the verge of agreeing a deal to buy Yahoo!'s web search business - just two months after launching its Bing search engine.

Yahoo...Microsoft 'close to deal'
Yahoo...Microsoft 'close to deal'

Top executives at Microsoft were today reported to be flying to Silicon Valley from Washington to finalise the deal.

The two web giants have been in talks over a potential sale of the search business for more than 18 months.

An analyst with the institutional investor ThinkEquity was quoted by the investment website 24/7 Wall Street as saying a deal was "imminent".

Details of the deal are sketchy, but 24/7 Wall Street said Microsoft could pay $3 billion (£1.8 billion), and agree to share revenue from the search business with Yahoo!.

A successful deal would give Microsoft almost 30 per cent of the American market.