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Microsoft and News Corp. lock arms for Yahoo bid?

Microsoft and News Corp. are in "serious talks" about a joint bid for Yahoo, according to published reports.

Updated at 10 p.m. with details from the New York Times.

Are Microsoft and News Corp. locking arms for a joint bid for Yahoo?

That would be something.

According to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, the two industry titans are in "serious talks" over such a deal.

And a New York Times report lays out the type of mashup that is being considered by the software and media companies.

Under a deal, Microsoft's struggling MSN would be joined with News Corp.'s social-networking site MySpace, as well as Yahoo, according to the Times report.

Although the Journal characterizes the talks as "serious," the Times notes they are in a "sensitive stage," and many miles have yet to be traveled before such a deal gets to the finish line.

While terms of a transaction have not been hammered out, the Times cites some sources speculating that News Corp. may throw cash into the deal and its Fox Interactive Media unit, which oversees MySpace.

Ironically, just last month, News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch said he had no plans of getting into a bidding war over Yahoo with Microsoft. Talk about a cliche: If you can't beat them, join them.

The day-by-day, nearly hour-by-hour, developments involving Yahoo since Microsoft on Saturday issued a three-week deadline for its reluctant target to do a deal is enough to make your head spin--from the Legg Mason investor offering support to Yahoo should Microsoft lower its bid to Yahoo looking at a two-week test for Google search ads to the never-ending noise that Yahoo is looking at doing an asset swap/investment with Time Warner's AOL.

One thing is for certain as the days count down to the three-week deadline: the volume of noise is going to get even louder and more frequent...