Shares in Adobe Systems Inc (NASDAQ:ADBE) skyrocketed on Thursday after a media report stirred speculation it might become an acquisition target for Microsoft Corp (MSFT).

The stock leapt as much as 17 percent to an intraday high of $30 before settling back. It was up 8.5 percent at $27.88 in afternoon trade on the Nasdaq. Microsoft shares were up slightly.

The New York Times reported that Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer had met secretly with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen at Adobe's San Francisco offices "recently".

The two discussed Apple Inc's (NASDAQ:AAPL) dominance in mobile phones and considered several options to counteract that, including Microsoft acquiring Adobe, the newspaper said, citing employees and consultants involved in the discussions.

Adobe declined comment. Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.