Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Yahoo's chairman Roy Bostock met earlier this week, a person brief on the meeting told the New York Times.

The move raised speculation that negotiations to sell Yahoo's web search business were still alive.

No further details of the talks were given, the Times reported.

Yahoo's new CEO Carol Bartz on Wednesday told employees in a meeting she had informal talks with Ballmer since she was hired by Yahoo's board, reports said.