Microsoft revealed as mystery buyer in attempted Salesforce acquisition

According to reports, the two tech giants entered into acquisition talks sometime in early spring, but apparently failed to reach a deal.

When news broke late last month that CRM giant Salesforce was approached by a potential acquirer, there was rampant speculation as to the identity of the mystery buyer.

Turns out, it was Microsoft.

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According to sources cited in a report by CNBC, the two tech giants entered into acquisition talks sometime in early spring, but apparently failed to reach a deal.

Microsoft was willing to offer roughly $55 billion for the acquisition of Salesforce -- which lines up fairly close to the $47 billion market cap carried by the CRM software maker.

The deal would have seen Microsoft use up most of its $95 billion in cash reserves to pay for Salesforce, with its CEO and founder Marc Benioff taking on a management role at Microsoft, according to CNBC sources.

But the talks seem to have fizzled when Benioff increased his expected offer to $70 billion -- turning the deal into a more consequential investment than Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was willing to make.

The companies have since ended talks and there are no known plans to restart them anytime soon.

If either offer had been accepted, the deal would have represented the largest software acquisition ever.

It's unclear if and how the failed acquisition will affect the Salesforce/Microsoft relationship going forward. While the two companies spent years as bitter competitors, and still go head-to-head in the CRM space, they're now partners on multiple deliverables.

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