Apparently LinkedIn Really Wanted to Sell – Shopping Itself to Google, Facebook, Salesforce

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Microsoft’s landmark acquisition of LinkedIn last month has quite a story behind it: turns out the tech titan wasn’t the only potential suitor for its fellow public company—but $26 billion, specifically in cash, sealed the deal.

Here’s the interesting part, though. It’s not that everybody and their dog wanted to buy LinkedIn. Indeed, LinkedIn was actively shopping itself around.

LinkedIn’s latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing, proxy statement that details its acquisition by Microsoft, mentions not one, not two, but four other suitors. Salesforce was one; Google and Facebook were two others. The deal with Microsoft started in February when the two CEOs, Jeff Weiner and Satya Nadella, met up to discuss a potential transaction.

Before a deal was inked, LinkedIn met with four other suitors, including Salesforce, which put in an offer similar to Microsoft’s, but not in all cash. However, Salesforce’s offer was strong enough to trigger a bidding war with Microsoft.

For Microsoft, the purchase wass about making Office 365—its cloud-based subscription office suite—smarter.

“This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete,” Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, wrote in an email to employees. “As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”

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