updated 3/13/2008 6:48:40 PM ET 2008-03-13T22:48:40

Yahoo Inc. said Thursday it is moving its European headquarters to Switzerland from London.

The Internet pioneer from California said it will move to a site on the shores of Lake Geneva within 18 months.

The move is "part of our ongoing international business strategy to increase competitiveness, deliver financial results, performance and efficiencies," the company said in a statement.

Yahoo said 5 percent of its European work force will be involved in the move. A spokeswoman declined to say how many staff Yahoo has in Europe and whether the move will result in job losses elsewhere.

Swiss media have reported that Yahoo will benefit from a special tax break in Switzerland. Yahoo declined to comment on the reports.

Car maker Nissan, confectionery and drinks group Cadbury Schweppes and network equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems all have their Europeans headquarters close by.

Yahoo competitor Google Inc. recently opened a new European research and development center in Zurich.

Yahoo is currently fending off a takeover attempt by Microsoft Corp.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Microsoft has offered to buy Yahoo for more than $40 billion, but the unsolicited bid has been at a standstill for the past month because the two sides can't agree on a price.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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