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Microsoft Offers Remedies To EC In Bid To Gain £21bn LinkedIn Takeover Approval

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Microsoft has offered to sweeten the deal for European regulators so it can get LinkedIn approval, despite Salesforce and other opposition

Microsoft has reportedly offered concessions to the European Union in a bid to receive clearance for the proposed $26.2 billion (£21bn) takeover of professional social network LinkedIn.

Antitrust regulators at the European Commission (EC) expressed concerns at a meeting with the company last week, according to Reuters, and will now consider the proposals.

The EC will decide by 6 December whether to approve the deal, demand more concessions or launch a full investigation.

Microsoft LinkedIn EC

LinkedInSalesforce, which was one of four other parties looking to buy LinkedIn, believes the deal will be a threat to innovation and competition, especially with regards to data. LinkedIn has around 450 million users and its data is potentially valuable to both Microsoft and Salesforce as both firms seeking to bolster their artificial intelligence capabilities.

Microsoft believes the presence of Facebook in the market should be considered sufficient to ease such concerns and is seeking approval. The addition of LinkedIn will be a major boost to Microsoft’s attempts to sell cloud services and would be its largest ever purchase – dwarfing Skype and Nokia among others.

Microsoft’s initial proposals began in February, when CEO Satya Nadella met with LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner.

“On February 16 2016 Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s chief executive, met Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, to discuss the ongoing commercial relationship between the companies and ways to enhance it,” said an SEC filing.

The other bidders for LinkedIn are believed to have been Google, Facebook and IBM, all of whom would want access to the data to sell either advertising or services.

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