EBay Inc. has had talks with both Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to determine whether one of them might be a suitable ally against common threats from Google Inc, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.
"After years of working closely with the search giant, eBay last year became alarmed as Google started assaulting its turf in multiple ways," including the creation of a competing classified advertising service, the report said.
EBay's talks with Yahoo and Microsoft began in earnest last fall, the report said, citing people familiar with the talks. (MSNBC.com is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)
Under one scenario, the talks could lead to an alliance in which eBay would boost its advertising spending with its chosen partner and provide access to data it has collected about its consumers, the Journal said.
The report said it remained unclear how much money might be involved and whether the parties have considered a more complex deal, such as one side taking an equity stake in the other.
Officials could not immediately be reached at any of the four companies.