LinkedIn filing details bidding war resulting in Microsoft acquisition

Microsoft wasn't the only company bidding to buy LinkedIn, according to a new document LinkedIn filed with the SEC.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

A LinkedIn filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed some of the back story leading up to Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn.


The July 1 filing notes that several companies -- not just Microsoft and Salesforce (whose CEO acknowledged that company also was in the bidding after a Bloomberg report revealed that information) -- were sniffing around LinkedIn.

Recode reports that two other bidders were Google and Facebook, though it seems from the background of the merger filing from LinkedIn that Microsoft and Salesforce were the serious bidders. Salesforce actually bid more than Microsoft did for LinkedIn, but Microsoft's all cash bid triumphed in the end.

As Andreessen Horowitz partner Marc Andreessen tweeted, acquisition discussions began days after LinkedIn's stocked tanked in February of this year.

The filing makes mention of Microsoft's insistence on calculating the "cost synergies" of the transaction, signaling that layoffs may result from the merger.

The filing also notes that Microsoft co-founder and board member Bill Gates discussed with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman the possibility of Hoffman joining the Microsoft board, though there were no final resolutions on that matter. Recode reported last month Hoffman may end up joining the Microsoft board.

Microsoft announced on June 13 it planned to purchase LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in an all-cash transaction. The acquisition is one of the largest ever in the tech industry and by far the largest in Microsoft's acquisition history.

Microsoft officials want LinkedIn's data, and plan to integrate a number of the company's productivity and CRM products with it.

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