Microsoft wants to purchase Yahoo
Microsoft has offered to buy the search engine company Yahoo for $44.6bn (£22.4bn) in cash and shares.
The offer, contained in a letter to Yahoo's board, is 62% above Yahoo's closing share price on Thursday.
Yahoo cut its revenue forecasts earlier this week and said it would have to spend an additional $300m this year trying to revive the company.
It has been struggling in recent years to compete with Google, which has also been a competitor to Microsoft.
It is a shotgun marriage, but the person holding the shotgun is Google
Tim Weber, business editor, BBC News website
"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," Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said.
There has not yet been any comment from Yahoo.
Its chief executive, Jerry Yang, announced on Tuesday that he intended to lay off 1,000 staff as part of a restructuring plan.
Terry Semel, who stepped down as chief executive last June, also quit as non-executive chairman on Thursday.
Microsoft said that Yahoo shareholders could choose to receive either cash or shares.
YAHOO'S FALLING PROFITS
Oct to Dec 2007 down 23%
July to Sept 2007 down 5%
April to June 2007 down 2%
Jan to March 2007 down 11%
Yahoo shares have fallen 46% since reaching a year-high of $34.08 in October.
"Ultimately this corporate marriage was forced by the rise of Google, which has grown into a serious competitor for both Microsoft as a software company and Yahoo as an internet portal," said Tim Weber, business editor of the BBC News website.
"It is a shotgun marriage, but the person holding the shotgun is Google."