Having lost out with its own bid for LinkedIn, Salesforce is now pressing the European Commission to investigate Microsoft’s winning $26 billion offer for the professional networking firm.
Salesforce argued EC antitrust regulators should go beyond a standard review and launch a more in-depth probe.
Microsoft is expected to seek EC approval for the takeover in the coming weeks, said Reuters.
“By gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage,” said Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer, in a statement.
“Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinised by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union,” he said.
Microsoft edged out Salesforce’s bid for LinkedIn in July, but was forced to increase its offer from $182 a share to $196. Salesforce was reported to have made a higher offer but LinkedIn’s board favoured the Microsoft bid because it was all-cash, rather than stock and cash.
Salesforce’s intervention generated a tart response from Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. We’re committed to continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”
A preliminary review by the European Commission lasts for 25 working days but can be extended for a more in-depth investigation that would last for a period of months.