NBC executives are aiming to gain complete control over the part-Microsoft funded venture as it seeks to separate its television and online brands to avoid brand confusion.
Two years ago, NBC Universal and Microsoft were looking to change the name of MSNBC --- at the time, the third most popular U.S. news website --- according to The New York Times.
The deal was struck in 1995 around the time Microsoft was making its public name with Windows 95. Microsoft said it would invest $220 million for a 50 percent stake in the online news property and MSNBC cable television channel. NBC acquired a majority stake on the channel when the television partnership ended in 2005.
Charlie Tillinghast, MSNBC.com chief executive, will likely move off the Microsoft campus along with half of the website's employees should the deal end, according to one report.