A Microsoft executive assured employees in his division on Friday that the software maker would keep many of Yahoo's staff in their northern California headquarters if its bid to buy the Web portal company is successful.

In bringing the companies together, we would be committed to maintaining Yahoo's significant presence in Silicon Valley, wrote Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's Platforms & Services division, in an e-mail to employees.

The Redmond, Washington-based software giant is in talks to acquire Yahoo! as it moves to be more competitive against Google. Yahoo! has already rejected a $45 billion -$31 per share -from the Windows manufacturer but Microsoft remains persistent.

Once Yahoo and Microsoft agree on a transaction, we can begin the integration planning process in parallel with the regulatory review.

The e-mail, which appeared to be in response to Yahoo's decision to adopt new severance plans earlier in the week, was written in question-and-answer format. It addressed recent concerns raised by Microsoft employees, although Johnson did not directly answer questions about staffing and layoffs.

While some overlap is expected in any combination of this size, we should remember that Microsoft is a growth company that has hired over 20,000 people since 2005, and we would look to place talented employees throughout the company as a whole, he wrote.

If Yahoo consents to the offer, the transaction would likely close in the second half of this year, according to Johnson. The struggling Internet company has reportedly explored possible alliances with Google, Time Warner-owned America On Line, and social networking website MySpace owned by News Corp.

Correction:An article published on Saturday, February 23, 2008 incorrectly stated that Microsoft executive Kevin Johnson wrote an e-mail to Yahoo employees regarding a possible combination of both companies. Johnson wrote the e-mail for employees of the Microsoft Platform & Services Division.