So far this week, Microsoft's execs have given Yahoo a 3 week ultimatum to accept their takeover bid; Yahoo responded with a curt "Go away!"; then announced an ad-sharing deal with none other than its rival Google, which has stated firming that a Microsoft deal would be a very, very bad thing for not only Yahoo, but the web as a whole.

And now, the plot has taken yet another twist.

Reuters is reporting that Yahoo is back in talks with Time Warner over a possible tie-up with AOL.

It suggests that Yahoo is brokering a deal with Time Warner to fold AOL, excluding its dial-up internet access business, into a combined company.

The deal would give Yahoo much needed cash to buy back some of its own shares.

But analysts are already saying that shareholders may not be convinced that the AOL deal will give them more for their money than the Microsoft offer.

Microsoft's offer now values Yahoo at $29.33 per share, which the web company's board has rejected as too low.

And, just when we thought the story couldn't get more complex, there was also news that Microsoft may be tying up with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to strengthen its Yahoo bid.

Murdoch had been rumoured to be looking at Yahoo as a possible acquisition but blew rumours out of the water by stating he wasn't prepared to take on the might of Microsoft.

Reuters explains the reasoning behind a tie-up: "A joint Microsoft-News Corp bid could create a more formidable competitor to Google by uniting three of the biggest Web site publishers: Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and News Corp's MySpace social network".

A deal would also lower Microsoft's financial risk.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft, News Corp, Time Warner, Google and Yahoo have all declined to comment.