A little over three months ago, Microsoft entered an acquisition deal to purchase professional networking platform LinkedIn for $196 a share, in an all-cash deal worth a total of $26.2 billion. However, just a couple of days ago, Salesforce expressed concern over the deal - which is currently undergoing an investigative review conducted by the European Commission - saying that it fears anti-competitive behavior from Microsoft.
While Microsoft's president Brad Smith already denied the claims then, he has now offered a slightly more detailed response.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the Microsoft executive dismissed the accusations, stating that the company has no intentions of cutting off LinkedIn data to Salesforce. He went on to say that:
Obviously if Salesforce thought that, as the largest CRM provider, it could buy LinkedIn, as it obviously did, I have to believe that as the fourth largest CRM provider, we can buy LinkedIn. So I look forward to the continuing conversation and I remain strongly of the view that it will bring more competition to the marketplace.
Salesforce, which reportedly lost in the bidding process, urged European regulatory authorities to probe the deal, with its chief executive Marc Benioff publicly claiming that Microsoft is planning "anti-competitive bundles and denying access to [LinkedIn] data to rivals."
Microsoft president Brad Smith has now denied Benioff's accusations, saying that "it is not something that we have any intention of doing. The LinkedIn data is public today and we want to make that data useful in lots of new ways."
Microsoft bid $26.2 billion for the acquisition of LinkedIn for a number of reasons, which you can read about in detail here. It is also important to note the EC's preliminary review of merger deals lasts 25 working days, however, it can be extended by about four months if there are serious concerns.