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Microsoft didn’t have the highest bid for LinkedIn, but its $26 billion in cash won out

Another bidder, likely Salesforce, was offering a few million dollars more, but its offer was made up of both stock and cash.


Not only did Microsoft fight an intense bidding war to get its hands on LinkedIn, but its $26.2 billion bid was actually slightly less than a rival (a.k.a. Salesforce) was prepared to offer, according to documents filed on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Microsoft’s winning bid of $196 per share followed a months-long process involving as many as four other companies. (The filing lists them only as Party A, Party B, Party C and Party D, though Party A is likely Salesforce.)

From March through June, LinkedIn met with all four companies, but it became increasingly clear over that time that only Party A and Microsoft were seeking a full-on acquisition.

In the end, it was Salesforce that had the highest bid, after offering $200 per share, based on its own stock price.

However, LinkedIn says its board considered several factors in going with the Microsoft offer, including the fact that a Salesforce bid would have required approval of that company’s shareholders, as well as the fact that Microsoft was offering cold, hard cash.

Speaking of cash, LinkedIn could be on the hook for a $725 million breakup fee if they back out of the deal with Microsoft.

For those who want to see what a big company bidding war looks like, there’s a lot more detail in the regulatory filing.

This article originally appeared on

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