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Microsoft might try to buy Yahoo… again

microhooLooks like all that speculation over a Yahoo sale is true. After some fairly weak protestations that the company was simply restructuring, a revealing email seems to suggest that the company is interested in an acquisition.

Now Reuters is reporting that not only is Yahoo interested in putting itself on the market, there are also some rumblings about a deal involving Microsoft. However there are no details as of yet and a number of parties are considering a Yahoo deal, including Alibaba which pegged itself as “very interested” in buying Yahoo.

Of course Microsoft is drawing headlines for its potential acquisition of Yahoo because of its failed attempt back in 2008. Yahoo passed on the $45 billion offer, and the rest is history–of course at the time, the company wasn’t interested in being bought. Things have obviously changed as Yahoo’s executive staff is still CEO-less and it continues to make headlines for its ever-decreasing market share.

This time around, Microsoft is rumored to be eyeing partners to go in on the deal. One obvious advantage in acquiring Yahoo is that Microsoft would be getting a steal compared to the money it was prepared to offer up three years ago. And the market has reacted well to rumors about the purchase: Yahoo stocks received a nice 9-percent bump thanks to idea of a Microsoft acquisition—which means the struggling company is likely even more interested in finding the right price. All good news for a buyer.

But Yahoo comes with some strings attached, namely in the form of Alibaba and its overseas holdings. Most of Yahoo’s worth can be tied to its Asian assets, and giant e-retailer Alibaba has the right to buy back its shares, which makes the site less valuable. Pair this with Alibaba’s interest in overtaking Yahoo and it’s obvious that things could get complicated quickly.

At the moment, Microsoft is already making money off of Yahoo. The two partner on Web search and share the generated ad revenue. Buying Yahoo could protect this investment, and Microsoft could keep the bits and pieces of Yahoo that make sense for its business and sell off the rest.

While we can pin down why Microsoft is interested, it’s not alone, and Yahoo’s got a handful of suitors considering folding it into their portfolio.