More than three months ago, Microsoft agreed to buy professional networking platform LinkedIn for $196 a share, in an all-cash deal worth a total of $26.2 billion. However, before the deal goes through, it has to obtain antitrust approval from the EU in the coming weeks. Now, Salesforce, which lost in the bidding process, is urging the EU to probe the deal, claiming that it threatens competition and innovation.
Burke Norton, Salesforce's chief legal officer, said that:
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 scrutinized by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union.
In response, Microsoft's president Brad Smith has dismissed Salesforce's claims, stating that the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Brazil and Canada. He also said that Microsoft is working to bring competitive prices to CRM markets in which Salesforce is charging customers higher prices.
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 EU's preliminary review of merger deals lasts 25 working days, however, it can be extended by about four months if there are serious concerns.