The rich $26.2 billion price that Microsoft paid to acquire LinkedIn this week prompted speculation that Microsoft may have been in a bidding war to buy the company.
On Thursday, Bloomberg said in a report that Salesforce was a “rival potential bidder” for LinkedIn.
Salesforce was advised in negotiations for LinkedIn by investment bank Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg said, citing anonymous sources.
It’s not clear from the report how far those negotiations actually went, but we know that Microsoft ultimately came away with the prize.
Microsoft had apparently been sort of watching LinkedIn for a few years, these people told Bloomberg, but Microsoft didn’t approach LinkedIn. Instead LinkedIn Executive Chairman Reid Hoffman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner contacted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to alert him that they were talking with another company about another deal.
When Microsoft’s announced that it was buying LinkedIn on Monday, the tech industry was shocked and baffled.
But Nadella explained that one of the big reasons it wanted LinkedIn was to help it revamp its Dyanmics product line, its product that competes with Salesforce.
Nadella explained it in a sentence to Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff. He said that buy buying LinkedIn’s professional network:
“It helps us differentiate our CRM product with social selling. It helps us take Dynamics into new spaces like human capital management with recruiting, and learning, and talent management.”
Nadella had reportedly attempted to buy Salesforce itself outright last year but the deal fell through when the two couldn’t agree on a price. So he was ready to go big on this beefing up this area.
When that deal fell through, insiders say that Microsoft has since ramped up its competition against Salesforce.
Microsoft plans to miine LinkedIn’s professional network for everything from HR software to sales software and Microsoft plans to integrate LinkedIn with Office 365, and marry LinkedIn’s ad business with its own.