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Microsoft had stiff competition from Salesforce for LinkedIn acquisition

Earlier this week Microsoft shocked the tech world by announcing the acquisition of social network LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion, but apparently it wasn't the only company in the running.

According to reports, Salesforce was being advised by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. about becoming a potential rival bidder to Satya Nadella and co. in the run up to the Microsoft deal being finalised.

The irony is that Goldman Sachs has previously advised Microsoft on similar matters, although on Monday Bloomberg reported that it was "representing another potential bidder," allowing rival Morgan Stanley to swoop.

Salesforce and Microsoft are competitors in selling businesses cloud-based software and services and Salesforce would also have been tempted by the trove of personal data LinkedIn has on its users, such as skills and responsibilities at past and present jobs.

Speaking to recode, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said: "It's the season of M&A. We gave it a solid look. We are always looking to help our customers in new ways."

Although any prices offered to LinkedIn by Salesforce haven't been made public, the acquisition certainly would have been a stretch for the company. Microsoft was able to complete the deal in cash, whereas Salesforce reported 'only' $2 billion in cash and short-term investments as of April 30.

Image source: Shutterstock/Gil C