Regulators from the European Union are concerned by Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn. To ensure the deal is given the green light in the EU, Microsoft is offering concessions to regulators. With approval of the acquisition still pending, it is important the company helps ease concerns within the European Commission.
That’s according to Reuters, which adds that Microsoft has been moved into this position. The company’s decision comes after “the EU competition enforcer expressed concerns about the deal at a meeting with Microsoft executives last week.”
Microsoft agreed a purchase of LinkedIn in June, 2016. After a bidding war with Salesforce, Microsoft agreed to pay the most it has ever done for an acquisition. The deal has already received approval in countries such as Brazil, Canada, and the United States.
However, the EU has expressed concerns, although the acquisition was only submitted in October. This coincides with the emergence of doubt cast on the deal by Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff.
Salesforce contests that Microsoft will ultimately withhold data from LinkedIn’s users. The company now has access to a unique dataset of 450 million professionals in 200 countries. Microsoft retorts that it will not withhold data. The company also points out that Salesforce was bidding for LinkedIn, so were its intentions to withhold data?
Last month we reported that Benioff’s worries could be founded. A report suggested LinkedIn was in talks with companies to offer limited data.
According to The Information, LinkedIn is in talks with SugarCRM about access to a small portion of the data. The company will provide datasets such as name, title, and photo for use in sales, but not much else.
These concerns have coincided with Microsoft submitting the acquisition to the EU. Regulators appear to agree with these worries, leading to the company offering concessions. Now the commission has until November 22 to say its plans. A final decision will be made on December 6 when the EU will choose to approve the deal or investigate it further.
Same Old Microsoft
Microsoft and Salesforce have seen their relationship strain in recent months. The LinkedIn deal was the catalyst, but the two are also competitors in the CRM market. Benioff has taken another swipe at Microsoft this week, highlighting the cooling relationship between the companies.
In recent years, Microsoft has been expanding into a more open company. This allowed it to collaborate more inclusively with rivals like Salesforce. However, speaking at the Code Enterprise conference in San Francisco, Benioff says he was fooled by the “new” Microsoft, but the company is actually the same.
“I just kinda came to the conclusion at that point that the new Microsoft was actually the old Microsoft,” he says.