EU regulators approve Microsoft's LinkedIn purchase with concessions

Microsoft expects its deal to acquired LinkedIn to close 'in the coming days,' now that EU regulators have given the pending acquisition their approval.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's pending acquisition of LinkedIn has received the European Commission's regulatory nod, Microsoft announced on December 6.


Microsoft expects the deal to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, which the company announced in June 2016, to close "in the coming days," according to a blog post by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer.

Regulators in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and South Africa already had cleared the deal.

As reported in November, Microsoft did make some concessions as part of the EU regulatory process. Microsoft's blog post mentions these "commitments regarding the company's support for other professional social network services" for the next five years.

Microsoft will continue to make its Office add-in program available to other third-party professional social networking services. The company has committed to making "promotional opportunities" in the Office Store to these kinds of social networking services, as well.

Microsoft officials pledged to enable IT admins and users to decide whether to display in the user interface the LinkedIn profile and "activity information that may be integrated in the future," today's blog post says. And if there is a LinkedIn application or tile for Windows PCs for Microsoft that's included in Windows, Microsoft will make sure PC makers can choose whether or not to install them in the European Economic Area. Users will be able to uininstall the application and tile if they choose to do so, and they won't be subjected to Windows prompting them to install a LinkedIn application.

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff had been agitating to get EU antitrust regulators to give the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal extra scrutiny before clearing the purchase. Salesforce also bid on LinkedIn and lost to Microsoft.

Microsoft officials have said Microsoft and LinkedIn's data graphs are mutually complementary. Microsoft is expected to use LinkedIn's data and algorithms to bolster its Dynamics CRM/ERP line, its Office family of products and services, and other parts of the company's productivity-related businesses.

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