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Microsoft expects Yahoo to accept bid quickly


SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp said Monday that its $44.6 billion unsolicited offer for Yahoo Inc. was generous and it expects Yahoo's board and shareholders to agree to the buyout quickly.

“We trust the Yahoo board and the Yahoo shareholders will join with us quickly in deciding to move down an integrated path,” Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said in an annual strategy meeting with analysts.

Microsoft's comments follow a weekend of maneuvering by Yahoo, which, according to sources familiar with Yahoo's strategy, is considering a business alliance with Google Inc. to rebuff Microsoft's proposal. It has also received preliminary contacts from media, technology, telecommunications and financial companies, another source close to Yahoo said.

At the same meeting, Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell also said the company may borrow money for the first time in its history to fund a portion of the 50-50 cash and stock offer for Yahoo.

“If you look at the cash component ... we could fund most of that through our cash holdings, but it's likely we're actually going to borrow for the first time,” said Liddell. “It's going to be a mixture of the cash we have on hand plus debt.”

Liddell said he expects Microsoft's revenue to grow at a double-digit percentage in the coming fiscal year starting in July despite a potential U.S. economic slowdown.

Microsoft also announced that its first major update to Windows Vista was released to manufacturing. Usually, large organizations wait for the first major update before deploying a new operating system.

Shares of Microsoft rose 5 cents to $30.50 in early Nasdaq trading, while Yahoo shares rose 44 cents to $28.82.

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