SEC filing from LinkedIn acquisition reveals five suitors

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News of Microsoft’s groundbreaking $26.2 billion move to acquire LinkedIn last month rocked both the tech world and the market, but deeper details of the deal didn’t clear up until this weekend.

Documents filed with the SEC on Friday revealed that there were at least five total corporations interested in buying up the business-oriented social network. Of course the eventual winner, Microsoft, was one of the five, but the other four remain unnamed in the filings. However, Bloomberg has reported that Salesforce might have been one of the interested parties.

Aside from providing sparse information on the alternate, failed acquisitions, it also detailed how Microsoft and LinkedIn ultimately worked out the deal.

Last February, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner met to talk about how the two companies could act more symbiotically in their business dealings, and the idea of a potential acquisition was thrown around for seemingly the first time.

The thought must have stuck for Weiner, because he began meeting with other companies — which Recode has since identified as Google and Facebook.

Business Insider reports that both tech giants dropped out eventually — Party B (Google), preferred to pursue a commercial partnership rather than acquire it, and parties C (unknown) and D (Facebook) chose to drop out after finding the price tag would be too high.

Microsoft and Salesforce eventually entered a bidding war, with Salesforce pitching between $160 and $165 per share, half stock and half cash. Microsoft tossed in an all-cash $160-per-share offer, with Salesforce answering with $171 per share, again splitting it in cash and stock. Microsoft’s monstrous bankroll allowed them to offer $172 per share, all in cash, the documents reveal.

Microsoft of course ended up winning out, hauling $196 per share in cash at the company. If it ends up somehow ditching the agreement, the company will be required to pay a hefty $725 million termination fee.


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