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Microsoft is aiming to own a minority stake in Yahoo as part of a bid led by private equity firm Silver Lake, according to Bloomberg News and the New York Times. The consortium is offering as much as $3 billion for a 15 percent stake in the Internet company, Bloomberg says.

No comment from Microsoft on the reports. The company needs to make sure that its search and advertising partnership with Yahoo remains viable, giving Microsoft some much-needed critical mass in its battle against Google in the search market. Microsoft Bing and Yahoo together have just under 30 percent of the U.S. market. Google has more than 60 percent.

Silver Lake’s bid values Yahoo at $20.6 billion, about 6 percent more than its market value, according to the Bloomberg report. Speaking to the news service, one analyst described the bid as disappointing.

Microsoft made an unsolicited bid for Yahoo in 2008, offering nearly $45 billion as an opener, but was rebuffed by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, then the Sunnyvale, Calif., company’s chief executive.

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