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Microsoft offers EU concessions on LinkedIn deal

Commission to decide whether to approve $26 billion acquisition by 6 December.

Microsoft this week submitted concessions to the European Commission in a bid to gain approval for its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.

The update appeared on the Commission’s Website; further details about the nature of Microsoft’s concessions were not revealed. The Commission subsequently pushed back its provisional deadline for ruling on the LinkedIn deal from 22 November until 6 December.

Microsoft agreed to acquire LinkedIn in June, and plans to integrate the professional social network with its Productivity and Business Processes division, which includes its Office software for both consumer and enterprise clients, Skype, its OneDrive cloud storage service, and its Dynamics CRM solution.

While the concessions Microsoft has offered have not been disclosed, it is likely that the software giant will need to convince the Commission that owning data about LinkedIn’s 433 million members will not harm competition.

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a speech in September that Brussels is mulling whether to take a closer look at mergers and acquisitions that involve a large volume of valuable data.

“A company might even buy up a rival just to get hold of its data, even though it hasn’t yet managed to turn that data into money,” she said at the time.

A source cited by the Wall Street Journal in October said the Commission, as part of the merger review process, is attempting to quantify the approximate value of LinkedIn’s data and whether rivals could replicate it.

It has sent questionnaires to LinkedIn’s rivals asking, among other things, whether or not the social network’s data can be replicated.

When it announced the LinkedIn acquisition, Microsoft said it expected to complete the transaction in 2016. Unless it can convince Brussels that the deal poses little threat to competition, that timeframe might prove to be optimistic.

Source: TotalTele

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