Microsoft Corporation has announced that it has made a proposal to acquire Yahoo! for approximately USD 44.6 billion.
The offer of USD 31 per share represents a 62 per cent premium over the stocks's January 31 closing price.
"We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft said that intends to offer significant retention packages to Yahoo! engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines.
In a press release, Yahoo! said that its board of directors will evaluate the proposal "carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo!'s strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."
Shares in Yahoo! rose 45 per cent to USD 27.76 on the news, while Microsoft shares fell 6.9 per cent to USD 30.38.
If the deal was accepted by Yahoo! and approved by regulatory agencies, it would be completed in the second half of calendar year 2008.
LONG LIVE MICROSOFT!!!!!