It appears the mystery buyer of Salesforce was Microsoft, but the talks have fizzled

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft

We finally know which company was trying to buy Salesforce — it was Microsoft, unnamed sources told CNBC’s David Faber.

And although the two companies got pretty far in these talks, the discussions are over because they couldn’t agree on a price, Faber reports. Microsoft wanted to pay $US55 billion and CEO Marc Benioff kept raising the price, at one point asking $US70 billion.

Salesforce’s stock has been trading at all-time highs — partly because of rumours about a take-over, but also because the company has had some really good quarterly earnings and is growing fast. The stock is now above $US75, giving it a market cap of about $US50 billion.

Farber’s sources spilled a few more details about how the union between Microsoft and Salesforce would have worked. Microsoft would have paid mostly cash, digging deep into its $US95 billion stockpile. While most shareholders would have been paid cash, Benioff was to be allowed to roll his nearly 6% stake in Salesforce into Microsoft stock. He would have taken on a management role at Microsoft, too.

For most of the last 15 years, Microsoft and Salesforce have been bitter competitors. But since Satya Nadella has become CEO of Microsoft, the two have mended their fences and become partners. Benioff and Nadella now routinely praise each other’s companies.

Now that it appears merger talks are over, shares of Salesforce are climbing again.

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