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LinkedIn bidding war between Microsoft and Salesforce revealed

Four companies , one of which is widely assumed to be Salesforce, were engaged in a bidding war to acquire LinkedIn before Microsoft finally won out, it has been reported.

A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals that four parties in addition to Microsoft considered buying the social network, although with varying degrees of interest.

Despite several meetings with LinkedIn's CEO Jeff Weiner, parties B, C and D ultimately made no offers, although Party B did have a due diligence call.

The filing also reveals 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 acquire the professional networking site.

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 offered 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.

Ultimately, while Party A and Microsoft both entered final bids of $182, it would seem that Microsoft's all-cash offer was considered the most appealing.

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