Microsoft considers financing Yahoo bid

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the largest software company, has signed an agreement that lets it take a closer look at ! Inc.’s financial information to help it consider financing a bid.

Private-equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake also signed non-disclosure agreements to help size up a possible bid for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, people close to the companies have said. Microsoft would join other investors to safeguard its Web-search partnership with Yahoo and bridge any financing gap a buyout would require, people have said.

Yahoo has asked interested parties to sign the NDA to receive management presentations and more access to confidential financial information.

Yahoo, the largest U.S. Web portal, embarked on a strategic review of its options in September after firing Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz. Under Bartz, the company struggled to stem sales declines or compete with Inc. (GOOG) and Facebook Inc, Bloomberg reported.

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