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Microsoft Sends Facebook Feelers

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is gauging Facebook's interest in a possible acquisition after the software giant's failed takeover attempt of Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper reported on its All Things Digital Web site that Microsoft's bankers have put out “subtle signals” to Facebook, the social networking Web site, to see if it would be open to a full acquisition.

Facebook and Microsoft officials were not immediately available for comment.

In October, Microsoft took a $240 million stake in Facebook, which valued the start-up at $15 billion. Citing unnamed sources, the report said Facebook is still likely to pursue an initial public offering.

The news came a few days after Microsoft tabled its unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo for $47.5 billion in an effort to build an online advertising powerhouse to rival Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research)

(Reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)