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Salesforce trying to block Microsoft’s US$26.2bn LinkedIn deal

Salesforce claims that if Microsoft gets the go-ahead to complete the acquisition, it would “threaten the future of innovation and competition”

the outside of Microsoft's US headquarters
Microsoft is hoping to complete a US$26.2bn deal for LinkedIn

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) has called on regulators to block Microsoft’s proposed US$26.2bn takeover of LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), arguing that the deal would hurt competition.

Salesforce’s public display of frustration comes just a few months after it lost a bidding war to acquire the online networking site.

Both companies’ interest in LinkedIn centres on the data it possesses, with an estimated 450mln members from more than 200 countries maintaining their personal details and résumés on the site.

Salesforce has said that the deal will give Microsoft an unfair advantage as it could block rival software firms from accessing the website’s vast data.

Salesforce’s chief legal officer, Burke Norton said: “Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition.”

“We intend to work closely with regulators, lawmakers and other stakeholders to make the case that this merger is anti-competitive.”

Norton added that the deal could potentially raise “data privacy issues” as well, which he feels the US and European authorities should scrutinise.

Microsoft hit back though, claiming that the deal had already cleared regulatory hurdles in several countries, including the US, and that it is Salesforce which actually dominates the customer relationship management (CRM) software market.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer said: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada and Brazil.”

Industry experts have also weighed in, claiming that Salesforce’s argument could fall back on itself if it makes a move for Twitter, which has been rumoured. 

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