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12/2/2008
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Yahoo Shares Jump On Report Of Possible Sale

Jonathan Miller, who ran AOL from 2002 to 2006, has reportedly been talking to private-equity investors and sovereign-wealth funds for months.

Yahoo shares jumped more than 7% on a report that former AOL chief Jonathan Miller is trying to raise money to buy all or a portion of the troubled Web portal.

Quoting people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported that it was a long-shot deal. Nevertheless, the glimmer of hope was enough to excite investors.

Yahoo shares on Tuesday rose as much as $1.76 to $12.50, before ending the day of regular trading at $11.50 on the Nasdaq. The stock had closed the previous day at $10.74.

Miller, who ran AOL from 2002 to 2006, has been talking to private-equity investors and sovereign-wealth funds for months, the Journal said. It was unclear where the talks stood.

However, Miller, a partner at investment firm Velocity Interactive Group, believes he can eventually offer Yahoo shareholders about $20 to $22 a share, which would mean raising its asking price from $28 billion to $30 billion to buy the entire company, the newspaper said.

Representatives for Miller and Yahoo were not immediately available to comment on the reports

What isn't clear is whether Microsoft would be involved. The company has said it's interested in doing a search deal with Yahoo. Microsoft earlier this year had offered $33 a share for Yahoo, but the proposal was rejected by chief executive Jerry Yang and other Yahoo leaders as too low.

Microsoft later dropped its bid and chief executive Steve Ballmer said last month the company had no interest in reviving talks. Miller was a behind-the-scenes player in the Yahoo-Microsoft talks, the Journal reported.

Yahoo's board announced last month that Yang would step down as chief executive after a replacement is found. Yang co-founded the company 13 years ago.

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