Internet giant Yahoo, which rejected a Microsoft buyout offer last year, has reignited speculation over a possible sell or partnership between the two companies, after CFO Blake Jorgensen revealed it is “not opposed” to reaching a deal that would maximize the value of their search businesses. He also noted, however, that it would be difficult to separate Yahoo’s search arm from the rest of the company without affecting other areas.

Jorgenson’s remarks, at an investor conference yesterday, helped boost the company’s stock 2 percent in after-hours trading, to $12.75, and follow recent comments from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer suggesting that they are still interested in talks with Yahoo to better mount competition against Google. Still, no one expects a deal to be announced immediately, as it remains unclear whether or not newly appointed Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is interested in selling or outsourcing the company’s search business.