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Google and Facebook also looked at buying LinkedIn

LinkedIn had more suitors than we thought.

LinkedIn's CommsConnect NY Michael Loccisano / Getty

Google and Facebook were among the suitors that looked at buying LinkedIn, which ultimately sold to Microsoft for $26 billion last month.

A Securities and Exchange Commission document filed on Friday revealed that LinkedIn drew interest from as many as five possible buyers. We knew that Salesforce was one of them, as CEO Marc Benioff confirmed to Recode. But a source familiar with the deal says that both Google and Facebook held meetings with LinkedIn executives to discuss the idea of a possible acquisition.

The SEC filing does not list the other bidders, but instead refers to interested companies as Party A, Party B, Party C and Party D. We’re told that Party B is Google, and Party D is Facebook. Party A is Salesforce, and we were unable to identify Party C.

A spokesperson for LinkedIn declined to comment, as did spokespeople for Facebook and Google.

According to the filing, a senior executive at Party B (Google) met with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in mid-March, after both Microsoft and Salesforce expressed interest in buying. After the meeting, the Google exec called Weiner and LinkedIn board chair Reid Hoffman to set up a later meeting to discuss a purchase.

They met later that month and then, on April 4, Google expressed formal interest in the sale. Then on May 3, after both Salesforce and Microsoft had made offers, Google bowed out, informing LinkedIn that it wouldn’t want to acquire but was still interested in a “commercial partnership.”

Facebook’s courtship was shorter. Hoffman proposed gauging the social company’s interest on April 1, according to the filing.

Six days later, Hoffman met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (for a “previously scheduled meeting”). Zuckerberg said Facebook wasn’t interested.

This article originally appeared on

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