NEW YORK: In a desperate bid to fend-off Microsoft's unsolicited $42 billion (€27.61bn; £21.15bn) takeover bid, Yahoo and Time Warner have intensified discussions as to the possible merging of the beleaguered internet search portal with the latter's AOL unit.

A deal would involve TW in taking a substantial minority stake in Yahoo, and the duo's talks center around the construction of a proposal sufficiently robust to place before Yahoo's board of directors.

But analysts and other onlookers doubt the parties can move fast enough – or have pockets deep enough – to thwart the software titan's ambitions.

Meantime Microsoft's offer deadline of March 14 looms ever nearer and there is increasing pressure from a number of influential Yahoo stockholders to enter into negotiations.

Conversely, there's no shortage of other suitors – notably a wild card in the shape of News Corporation, which has floated a proposal whereby Clan Murdoch would gain a stake in Yahoo in exchange for selling it MySpace and other of its lesser websites. 

All in all, a mix of scenarios to rival WWE's upcoming WrestleMania slamfest!

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff