When Microsoft announced its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn it was a huge surprise. It was just like Microsoft worked the deal over a weekend, but of course there was a lot more to it than that. Indeed, it emerged that Microsoft had engaged in a bidding war with Salesforce to get the social network.
However, while reports suggested the second party pushed Microsoft's purchase price for LinkedIn through the roof that may not be the case. It has emerged that Salesforce would have been willing to better Microsoft's bid and pay more than $26.3 billion. That suggests the LinkedIn decided to work with Microsoft over getting a better price.
In a securities filing last week, LinkedIn shows an email from Salesforce (Party A in the file) CEO Marc Benioff. The email reveals that the company would have restructured its package and upped its bid:
“Reflecting on the additional proposals it made after LinkedIn and Microsoft agreed to exclusivity, the email indicated that Party A would have bid much higher and made changes to the stock/cash components of its offers, but it was acting without communications from LinkedIn,” the filing says.
“The Transactions Committee also considered the contractual provisions contained in the definitive merger agreement with Microsoft, including those relating to discussions with third parties, and determined not to respond.”
Salesforce and Microsoft Ties
It is unclear what Salesforce's restructured bid would have looked like. It is probable that it still wouldn't have been as lucrative as Microsoft's. Redmond decided to pay for its acquisition all in cash, and appealing play that Salesforce would likely have not matched.
Interestingly, Microsoft and Salesforce have been strengthening their ties. It seems that the LinkedIn deal has not soured the growing relationship between the two companies.