NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch's highly honed opportunistic instincts are once again in play as News Corporation seeks to join Microsoft in its unsolicited bid for Yahoo.

The two giant predators are reportedly discussing ways in which they could carve-up the putative victim to their mutual advantage.

Previously a potential Yahoo ally, Murdoch has apparently switched sides, seeing greater opportunity in partnering the software titan.

Yahoo, meantime, desperate to retain its independence, is closeted in talks with Time Warner's AOL, itself in dire need of an entrepreneurial transfusion.

But why, folk are asking, would Microsoft want to share its potential booty with a mercurial privateer of Murdoch's ilk?

The likely answer is money. With News Corporation's overflowing coffers also backing a Yahoo bid, it would enable the latter to up the ante, piling even greater pressure on the besieged web portal's shareholders.

Moreover, with NewsCorp onside Yahoo is deprived of  another possible safe haven, leaving it with fewer opportunities to elude Microsoft's maw.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff