Microsoft offers concessions to EU regulators over LinkedIn purchase: Report

UPDATED: Microsoft is said to be offering concessions to European Union antitrust regulators in the hopes of getting approval for its pending LinkedIn purchase.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is offering EU antitrust regulators concessions in the hopes of gaining approval for its pending purchase of LinkedIn.


That's according to a Nov. 16 Reuters report, which also claimed that the move occurred after "the EU competition enforcer expressed concerns about the deal at a meeting with Microsoft executives last week".

Microsoft announced intentions to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in June 2016. The deal, if approved, will be Microsoft's largest acquisition to date. Microsoft only submitted for EU regulatory approval of its LinkedIn acquisition in mid-October, after already receiving similar approval from authorities in the US, Canada, and Brazil.

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff has 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.

Reuters said the European Commission will rule on the Microsoft-Linkedin deal by Dec. 6. At that time, it will either approval the deal (with said concessions) or open a full investigation regarding Microsoft's purchase. Last I heard, the EU was required to issue a decision as to whether it intended to explore the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal by Nov. 22.

Microsoft officials recently have committed publicly to providing LinkedIn data to other companies, rather than keeping it only for Microsoft's own use.

The Softies also have said they believe that 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.

I've asked Microsoft for comment on the Reuters report, but no word back so far. Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had no comment.

Update (Nov. 21): Reuters had another report today, Nov. 21, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, claiming Microsoft is making concessions in two areas: continued access by other professional social networks to Microsoft's API, and the ability of OEMs to install either LinkedIn or rival professional social networks.

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