LinkedIn had four suitors before Microsoft acquisition

LinkedIn on a mobile device

Four companies were engaged in a bidding war to acquire LinkedIn before Microsoft finally won out, it has been revealed.

A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals that four parties in addition to Microsoft, known only as Party A, Party B, Party C and Party D, considered buying the social network, although with varying levels of interest.

Despite several meetings with LinkedIn's CEO Jeff Weiner and other representatives of the company, parties B, C and D ultimately made no offer, although Party B did go as far as a having a due dilligence call.

The filing sheds additional light on how far Salesforce, which can safely be assumed to be party A after CEO Marc Benioff admitted it nearly bought LinkedIn, went in its attempts to buy the social network.

According to the filing, Party A initially offered $160-$165 per share in a mix of cash and stocks on 25 April, with Microsoft then matching this amount with an all-cash bid on 4 May. Party A then followed this up with a bid of $171 per share in a 50/50 mix of cash and shares on 9 May, with Microsoft offering $172 two days later.

Ultimatley, while Party A and Microsoft both entered final bids of $182, it would seem that Microsoft's all-cash offer won the day.

While the identity of Party C remains a mystery, Re/code claims that parties B and D were Google and Facebook respectively.

Indeed, while they were not as agressive as Party A, they are the two suitors that showed the most serious interest. While Party C ultimately declined to make an offer fairly early on, parties B and D only backed out after the due dilligence call, in the case of the former, and being told there were other bidders, in the case of the latter.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.