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Microsoft's $26B acquisition of LinkedIn gets EU approval

In exchange, Microsoft agrees to allow rival professional networking sites access to Office app and cloud services.

The European Union has given its blessing to Microsoft's pending $26 billion acquisition of professional-networking site LinkedIn, the software giant said Tuesday.

The European Commission, the EU's executive body, granted its approval on the condition that Microsoft allows rival professional networking sites to integrate its Office applications and cloud-computing services for the next five years. PC makers in the EU will also have the option of not installing LinkedIn's app, Microsoft said.

Microsoft made the commitments in November after EU regulators expressed antitrust concerns about the deal. The acquisition is now expected to close in coming days, Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal officer, wrote in a company blog post.

Microsoft announced plans in June to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, its biggest-ever acquisition. For Microsoft, the LinkedIn deal furthers its plan to become an essential provider to businesses of cloud-based services, including its Office 365. Salesforce was also reportedly interested in making a bid for LinkedIn.

Microsoft submitted its LinkedIn acquisition for EU regulatory approval in October, after already receiving approval from authorities in the US, Canada and Brazil.