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Citigroup jacks up Yahoo! rating

And social networking gets open API

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The likelihood of Microsoft raising its bid for Yahoo! sent its shares up yesterday after a Citigroup analyst upped his rating for Yahoo! shares from "hold" to "buy".

The bank believes Microsoft will raise its $31 a share offer for Yahoo! to $34 a share. They are currently changing hands for $28.73, but went up 3.5 per cent yesterday on the news.

Mark Mahaney at Citigroup said that although there were no other offers on the table for Yahoo! the fact it was looking at other options could force Microsoft's hand.

In other news Yahoo! has joined up with Google and MySpace have formed an open standards coalition for social networking. OpenSocial is an API for social networking sites already in use by orkut.com and hi5.com.

The companies will also create a not-for-profit foundation to promote development of the software, protect its intellectual property and provide equal, and free, access to the API.

Yahoo!'s move could be seen as another move against Microsoft which has its own standard. But the real missing piece for OpenSocial is the biggest social networking player in the West - Facebook.®

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