Microsoft has signed a nondisclosure agreement with Yahoo which will enable it to have a closer look at Yahoo’s financials, reports DealReporter citing a person aware of the devlopment. According to another report by The New York Times, it is unlikely that Microsoft has an interest in acquiring the ailing internet company, howver, it might help others in making a decision.

Another bid?: It also adds that Microsft was in talks with potential partners for a prospective bid, last month and that it was considering partnering private equity players like Silver Lake to form a consortium wherein Microsoft would invest billions of dollars in addition to borrowing from banks, although it would not play a larger role in Yahoo’s operations. KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts), Silver Lake and TPG Capital are some of the other private equity firms who’ve signed NDAs with Yahoo, recently. The report also indicates that Microsoft’s interest might have stemmed out from the need to continue its search and advertising partnership with the company and that it might look to integrate Skype, its latest acquisition, with Yahoo.

Microsoft-Yahoo Saga: In February 2008, Microsoft made a public,$44.6 Billion, $31 per share bid for Yahoo, which was declined by Yahoo. After the deadline for negotiations to be concluded lapsed, Microsoft withdrew the offer in May. However the two had come together to forge a search and advertising alliance for a period of 10 years in 2009, with Yahoo hosting Microsoft’s Bing for search on its Owned & Operated (O&O) sites, offering its own search technology to Microsoft and replacing its Panama advertising platform with Microsoft’s AdCenter. Under the agreement, Microsoft was to pay Traffic Acquisition Cost (TAC) at 88% of search revenue generated on Yahoo’s O&O (Owned and Operated) sites during the first 5 years of the agreement, while Yahoo was to display Microsoft’s ads along with it’s search results and a ‘powered by Bing’ logo. It also involved the transfer of some Yahoo employess to Microsoft.

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, in which Yahoo has a 43% stake, is also looking to buy Yahoo and is in talks with PE firms. This was confirmed by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma during the AsiaD conference. According to DealReporter other US based PE firms are interested in acquiring Yahoo’s US operations once Yahoo’s stake in companies such as Alibaba are sold off.