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Marc Benioff Is Complaining About Losing Out On LinkedIn: 'Sore Loser' Or 'Pretty Good Battlefield Strategy'?

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Marc Benioff Is Complaining About Losing Out On LinkedIn: 'Sore Loser' Or 'Pretty Good Battlefield Strategy'?

Bloomberg Gadfly's Shira Ovide stated the obvious: People enjoy following a messy story, especially when it comes to Wall Street.

The latest instance of a messy situation: salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE: CRM) losing out to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) in acquiring LinkedIn Corp (NYSE: LNKD).

Ovide stated that Salesforce's CEO Marc Benioff is "mad as heck" that he failed to acquire LinkedIn. At first glance, it may seem confusing as to why — considering Microsoft has much deeper pockets and has been a technology giant long before Salesforce even existed.

Related Link: Barclays On Salesforce: An Interesting Set Up Ahead Of Dreamforce

However, glancing through the regulatory filings concerning LinkedIn's takeover explains why Benioff has reason to be "mad as heck."

According to Ovide, Benioff's "relentless crusade" forced Microsoft to fork over $26 billion to acquire LinkedIn, $2 billion more than it would have had there been no counter-bidder. However, after the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft was officially announced, Benioff e-mailed Salesforce's executives to say he would have offered more money.

Now that Microsoft and LinkedIn's merger has proceeded to the regulatory approval stage, Benioff plans to "share concerns" with European Union officials about how Microsoft bought LinkedIn. The executive also believes Microsoft's accumulation of hundreds of millions of LinkedIn's user records "threatens the future of innovation and competition."

Ovide further suggested that EU regulators could indeed take a "hard look" at salesforce's complaints, but they are unlikely to reject a deal. Nevertheless, Benioff has nothing to lose by "stirring up a little trouble for rivals."

Bottom line, Ovide argued that Benioff's actions make him seem like a "sore loser," but as a "battlefield strategy, this one is pretty good."

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Posted-In: Bloomberg Gadfly Marc Benioff Microsoft LinkedIn AcquisitionAnalyst Color M&A Management Media General Best of Benzinga

 

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