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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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April 10, 2008 6:18 AM

Analyst: Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo still 'most likely outcome'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Having trouble keeping up with all the complicated deals rumored to be swirling around Yahoo and Microsoft? You're not alone. But at least one Wall Street analyst says when the dust settles, Microsoft's proposal to buy Yahoo will prevail.

Mark S. Mahaney, analyst with Citi Investment Research, told clients in a note today that a Microsoft purchase of Yahoo is "the most likely outcome," The Associated Press reports. But he expects Microsoft to pay more, either because, according to yesterday's rumors, it's bringing more bank to the table with News Corp., or because Yahoo is showing it's got options in the form of a deal with AOL. Mahaney has a "buy" rating on Yahoo shares and a $34 price target.

What of the Yahoo-Google search advertising partnership? Kara Swisher calls anything beyond the two-week test announced Wednesday, "the Justice Department Lawyer Employment Act of 2008, the likes of which we have not seen since Microsoft got its turn at being deservedly whacked for being a monopolist back in the last century."

Christa Quarles, an analyst with Thomas Weisel Partners, broke out the Homer in her latest assessment of the deal, also reported by the AP. "Choosing between Microsoft and Google must seem like sailing between Scylla and Charybdis for Yahoo," Quarles said in a note to clients. "Though given independence seems to be the overarching goal, tacking toward Google may be the better short-term solution."

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