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EC sets deadline for Microsoft bid to buy Yahoo! search biz

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Antitrust officials in Brussels have set a provisional deadline of 19 February to either greenlight or kibosh Microsoft's bid to buy Yahoo!'s search engine business.

The European Commission confirmed the date in a list of planned mergers currently being mulled by competition watchdogs that was published yesterday.

"The notification concerns the acquisition of control by Microsoft of Yahoo Inc's online web-wide algorithmic search and paid search advertising business," said the EC.

In December last year Microsoft and Yahoo! finalised the web search pact they announced to the world in July, an agreement that would see Redmond's technology drive Yahoo!'s search engine.

The deal should have been sealed by the two firms in October, but some of the small print needed to be worked on.

Both companies now await regulatory approval. ®

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