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Salesforce wants regulators to investigate Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition

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Marc Benioff/JD Lasica/Flickr
Just months after Microsoft’s $26 billion LinkedIn takeover, Salesforce is insisting United States and European Union regulators investigate the acquisition.

As Microsoft seeks to get the deal approved by EU antitrust officials, Salesforce is planning to tell regulators about its concerns. The software company is hoping it can convince officials that the deal should be investigated over the threats it poses to competition and privacy.

“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,” Burke Norton, chief legal officer, Salesforce, said in a statement.

Alongside Microsoft, Salesforce was reportedly one of five suitors bidding for the career-oriented social network. Microsoft eventually won out over its rivals (which were also rumored to include Google, Facebook, and an undisclosed additional party) by forking out $196 per share in cash, according to documents filed with the SEC.

Despite U.S. regulators having cleared the deal, an extended review process by European regulators could extend the process by months — perhaps not even clearing it by year’s end, as both LinkedIn and Microsoft had expected, Bloomberg reports.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in 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 [customer relationship management] market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

LinkedIn itself is currently busy trying to launch a revamped version of its platform, including the biggest redesign of its site since its inception in 2002. The overhaul will also see it work closely with its parent company, Microsoft, to integrate chat bots into its upcoming “smart messaging” system.

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