Salesforce is right about now trying to convince the European Union to block the deal that would see Microsoft formally takeover LinkedIn, reports various sources. Recall that Salesforce competed neck to neck with Microsoft, before the former lost out to the software giant. Microsoft eventually won the bid, which cost them a whopping $26.2 billion—representing the company’s biggest purchase.
Salesforce Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton, according to PC World, will present his company’s case to the EU’s competition authority, stating that the deal [Microsoft’s control of LinkedIn’s dataset following an acquisition would be anticompetitive]. Salesforce wants to build its case on comments made by EU competition chief Margarethe Vestager, that the agency would directly look at a company’s use of data whether it’s bad for competition.
“Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition,” Norton said in a statement on Thursday, per PC World. “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.”
Apparently Salesforce didn’t take the fact that it lost LinkedIn to Microsoft in good fate, and this might not be the end of the matter. Microsoft is however, pushing ahead with plans to finalize the deal.
Microsoft would have none of that from Salesforce has the company’s President Brad Smith didn’t hide his feelings when contacted to react to the situation on ground.
“The deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil,” he said, per PC World. “We’re committed to continue working to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”
I expect this latest twist to slow down the process of finalizing the deal, but not block it. However, that does not mean the EU won’t consider the case being put forward by Salesforce. Microsoft and LinkedIn were both expected to finalize the deal before the end of the year. Should LinkedIn pull out of the deal, the social media company would be expected to $725 million as breakup fee. On both sides (Microsoft and LinkedIn), a lot is at stake, and recent happening, though, least expected, could ruffle some feathers within the organizations.
On merger [acquisition in the case of Microsoft and LinkedIn], Vestager recently told an audience that: “But it’s possible that in other cases, data could be an important factor in how a merger affects competition. A company might even buy up a rival just to get hold of its data, even though it hasn’t yet managed to turn that data into money. We are therefore exploring whether we need to start looking at mergers with valuable data involved, even though the company that owns it doesn’t have a large turnover.”
Vestager’s statement did not, however, indicate if the commission was planning to investigate or act upon the case brought to it by Salesforce.