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If the acquisition takes place, it would be the biggest in Microsoft’s history

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Microsoft is nearing a deal to buy internet telephone company Skype for between 7 billion and 8 billion dlrs.

The newspaper, citing sources, said the takeover could be announced as early as Tuesday.

Buying Skype could give Microsoft an extremely well-known internet brand at a time when the software maker is trying to raise its footprint online.

If the acquisition materializes, it would be the biggest in Microsoft's 36-year history, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said Skype could also help Microsoft turn around its mobile phone business. For Skype, a big owner could be the key to long-term profitability.