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Salesforce calls for EU probe into Microsoft’s €23 billion bid for LinkedIn

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Salesforce calls for EU probe into Microsoft’s €23 billion bid for LinkedIn

Salesforce calls for EU probe into Microsoft’s €23 billion bid for LinkedIn
September 30
10:06 2016
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US software giant Salesforce has urged EU regulators to launch a rigorous antitrust probe into Microsoft’s $26 (€23.4) billion bid for professional networking site, LinkedIn.

Salesforce had originally pursued the social network themselves, but Microsoft now intend to seek antitrust clearance from the EU in the coming weeks to close its largest ever deal. As it’s now highly likely that Microsoft will close the deal, having already received the seal of approval from regulators in the US and Canada, it is clear Salesforce are looking to protect access to the network for their customers going forward.

While blocking the deal altogether would appear unlikely, any restrictions placed on the takeover has the potential to benefit Salesforce.

Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer, said in a statement: “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. Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinised by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union.”

In response, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith issued a statement: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada and Brazil. We’re committed to continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

The European Commission usually takes 25 working days to conduct a preliminary review of merger deals. This period can be extended by about four months if it has serious concerns.

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