It appears the mystery buyer of Salesforce was Microsoft, but the talks have fizzled (MSFT)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

We finally know which company was trying to buy Salesforce — it was Microsoft, unnamed sources told CNBC’s David Faber.

And although the two companies got pretty far in these talks, the talks are over because the two couldn’t agree on a price, Faber reports. Microsoft wanted to pay $55 billion and CEO Marc Benioff kept raising the price, at one point asking $70 billion.

Salesforce’s stock has been trading at all time highs, partly because of these take-over rumors, but also because the company has had some really good quarterly earnings and is growing fast. The stock is now above $75, giving it a market cap of about $50 billion.

Farber’s sources spilled a few more details about how the union between Microsoft and Salesforce would have worked. Microsoft would have paid mostly cash, digging deep into $95 billion stockpile. While most shareholders would have been paid cash, Benioff was to be allowed to roll is nearly 6% stake in Salesforce into Microsoft stock, and taken on a management role at Microsoft, too.

For most of the last 15 years, Microsoft and Salesforce have been bitter competitors. But since Satya Nadella has become CEO, the two have mended their fences and become partners. Benioff and Nadella now routinely praise each other’s companies.

Now that it appears merger talks are over, shares of Salesforce are climbing again.

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