Microsoft could team up with Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in a new bid to acquire Yahoo's search business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper claims today that Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo search, with the partner, likely a media company, taking the rest of the Yahoo business. CEO Steve Ballmer called Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock and arranged a meeting for Monday, but that meeting was cancelled, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

In January, Microsoft made an unsolicited bid to buy Yahoo outright, an offer the latter refused. Although Microsoft later raised its offer price, Yahoo continued to decline, and in early May, Microsoft ended the negotiations.

On Monday, his final day as Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates stated that he thought any deal between his company and Yahoo was unlikely.

However, the matter has refused to go away, with Microsoft indicating it would still be interested in buying part of Yahoo, namely its search business. At the same time, Yahoo investor Carl Icahn has pushed for a deal with Microsoft. He has stated publicly on several occasions that the company's board failed to serve shareholder interests by refusing to sell, and is manoeuvring to replace the board at an upcoming investor meeting in August.

On Tuesday, Yahoo gave shareholders with a 32-page presentation that sought to shore up support for the board ahead of that meeting, and defended its decisions in the face of Microsoft and Icahn criticism.

Related stories:

Yahoo denies 'poison pill' plan