Back off, Ballmer. Your intended bride has other suitors, and doesn't want to rush head-over-heels into something crazy.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) has extended the deadline for nominating directors for this year's annual shareholder vote. In effect, the 2008 annual meeting will be treated the same as a special meeting of stockholders for electing directors, removing the need to submit candidates with at least 90 days advance notice. That deadline was only days away. The revised deadline to nominate directors is now set for 10 days following Yahoo!'s announcement of the annual shareholder meeting.

CEO Jerry Yang said the change is meant to reduce the distraction of a proxy battle in case Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) decides to go hostile with an unwelcome bid. It also lets the board and management "continue to explore all of its strategic alternatives for maximizing value for stockholders."

Whether that means hooking up with News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) or Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) AOL through some sort of merger or part-ownership transaction, or bending to the might of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) in ways acceptable to the antitrust officials, well, that remains to be seen. Whoever the prospective partner is -- and I'm not talking about Mr. Softy -- now has extra time to put together an electable slate of directors and come up with business terms to go along with the deal.

Will it be yAhoOL! or YahSpace? Will the Big G swallow Panama whole? Or does Redmond get its way in the end? My money is on Rupert Murdoch playing the white knight in shining "Aussie Rules!" football gear. Others prefer the AOL scenario. Tune in sometime in the next three months to find out.

Further Foolishness:

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick, and Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Which one would you rather marry? Take both newsletters on a free, 30-day trial cruise to reach an informed decision. It's a lot like Temptation Island, except even the losers get rich.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Google shareholder, but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is waiting in the wings with some roses and a box of mocha truffles.