Well, Microsoft got there first. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That is the mentality of Microsoft as, after rumors of them possibly purchasing Yahoo from under Google's nose, have come to fruition. The company has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Yahoo. Along with Microsoft are other investors like Silver Lake and TPG Capital who all believe that the success of Yahoo lies within a new, better management team.
Microsoft is looking to tap into Yahoo's 81.2 million unique news readers and by signing the NDA, they will be able to dive into Yahoo's financials a little more. However, all of these investors are not interested in a full buyout. Instead, bidders are looking to buy a minority stake in the company. Microsoft's goal is to help finance a bid and not buy them outright, according to sources closer to the matter.
It has been said that Microsoft would also be willing to put up "billions" in order to bridge the finance gap in order for a buyout to occur. Unfortunately, nobody in the Microsoft of Yahoo camps have commented on the matter.
The NDAs terms are that private bidders can talk to each other about the management presentations and financial information shared with them. This should help facilitate a more planned out deal if a buyout should occur.
Yahoo's board is said to want to make this happen by the end of the year, so if that is the case, they're going to need to move quickly to finalize everything. Microsoft's financial support should definitely help.