Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer outlined his options for moving forward with a Yahoo bid on Thursday and said an announcement would come very soon.

Yahoo, the biggest Internet portal, has previously rejected a $31 per share bid in cash and stock - worth $44.6 billion - which Microsoft made at the end of January. The company missed a Microsoft deadline last Saturday to decide about the offer.

We've got basically the three big options in front of us, Ballmer said at a company meeting for employees, according to a transcript of his remarks released to media outlets.

There's the friendly deal, there's an unfriendly deal, and the third path is simply to walk away. We ought to announce something in very short order, he said.

Ballmer said he has a value in mind for Yahoo which he would not go over.

I know exactly what I think Yahoo is worth to me, Ballmer said. I won't go a dime above, and I will go to what I think it's worth if that gets the deal done.

He noted that buying Yahoo is part of a strategy to accelerate the growth of the company's scale for advertising.

Yahoo is not a strategy; it's a part of a strategy. It helps with some of the elements of speed and scale and acceleration in the strategy that we're on, he said.

Meanwhile, Yahoo could announce a non-exclusive agreement to carry search advertising from Google Inc, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Under discussion is a real-time auction system that would choose the most lucrative ads for any web user's search from those sold by an advertising provider, not limited to Yahoo or Google.