Green light for Microsoft-LinkedIn deal in SA

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This photo taken with a fisheye lens shows Microsoft signage outside the Microsoft Visitor Centre in Redmond. (Ted S Warren, AP, file)
This photo taken with a fisheye lens shows Microsoft signage outside the Microsoft Visitor Centre in Redmond. (Ted S Warren, AP, file)

Johannesburg - Local competition authorities have given their thumbs up to the South African leg of a global merger between Microsoft and LinkedIn.

In June, software giant Microsoft announced plans to buy professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2bn.

The deal is further expected to involve Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction that could close by year-end.

Microsoft said its planned purchase of LinkedIn is driven by the professional social network’s increased membership, engagement and financial results.

And the local leg of the deal has been approved by South Africa’s Competition Commission.

“The Commission has approved, without conditions, the intermediate merger whereby Microsoft intends to acquire LinkedIn,” said the Commission in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any of the affected markets.

“In addition, the Commission found that the proposed transaction does not raise any employment concerns as LinkedIn does not have any employees in South Africa.

“Furthermore, the proposed transaction does not raise concerns on other public interest grounds,” said the Commission.

European competition authorities

Salesforce.com, which was also a bidder for LinkedIn, has urged the European Union to take a closer look at the deal.

Chief executive officer of Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff, has said that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella could use LinkedIn’s assets to block competition, according to a recent Financial Times report.

Still, LinkedIn has said it expects the deal to close before the end of the year.

If global regulators give their nod to the deal, Microsoft stands to gain LinkedIn’s 106 million monthly unique visiting members.

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