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Report: EU to approve Microsoft-Yahoo search deal

Regulatory approval for the deal in Europe seems on track, as Yahoo and Microsoft await approval from U.S. regulators.

Microsoft and Yahoo appear to have cleared one hurdle in getting their search outsourcing deal approved, according to a report.

Carol Bartz and Steve Ballmer are reportedly close to getting European approval of their search deal. Microsoft/Yahoo

The European Commission plans to approve the deal between Microsoft and Yahoo to install Microsoft as the exclusive provider of search technology on Yahoo's network of sites, according to Reuters. It's not that surprising, since Microsoft and Yahoo's combined share on a global basis is minuscule, but is still an important formality for the deal.

Microsoft declined to comment on the report. A representative from Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Regulatory approval is still needed for the deal in the U.S., where the combined share of Yahoo and Microsoft would be about 28 percent according to ComScore. That's pretty small compared to Google, but review of such deals is almost automatic when it involves two of the larger companies in a market combining forces.

Microsoft and Yahoo have said they hope to receive final approval for the deal by early 2010, which implies "first quarter" but leaves the companies some wiggle room.