by Mark Walsh
Microsoft's deadline for Yahoo to conclude a merger agreement came and went Saturday without any apparent breakthrough in negotiations between the companies.
With no progress made toward a deal in Microsoft's unsolicited takeover bid, a proxy fight appears to be the next step in the software giant's protracted effort to acquire Yahoo.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had warned that the company would go hostile if a deal wasn't reached by Saturday, while lowering its offer in the process.
The offer price has been the main obstacle to an agreement, according to a report Sunday in The Wall Street Journal. Microsoft's Jan. 31 cash-and-stock offer of $31 a share (valued at $29.68 as of Friday's market close) has been repeatedly rejected by Yahoo as undervaluing the company.