Google reportedly is offering to assist Yahoo! in any effort to fend off a $44.6 billion unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft. It's not clear what kind of help Google is offering, but Google could help Yahoo!'s bottom line by taking on search advertising functions for the beleaguered portal, or by encouraging other companies to submit competing bids. It's unlikely that Google would bid to acquire Yahoo! on its own, because of anti-competitive issues.

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