Brands Microsoft COULD have bought - instead of LinkedIn - for $26bn

Microsoft has made its largest ever acquisition, snapping up professional network LinkedIn for a hefty $26.2bn, a move that surprised many.

The company has some much needed buzz around it off the back of the announcement, which is its first major acquisition since its ill-fated acquisition of Nokia for $7.2bn deal in 2014.

Unafraid, after effectively dumping the entire Nokia smartphone project, Microsoft has now put down a bid worth three Nokia mobile wings for LinkedIn.

The Drum naturally dug up a little data, inspired by the acquisition, to see which alternative brands Microsoft could have spent $26.2bn on. Looking at the enterprise values as they appear on the Brand Finance Global 500 Study, here’s some other companies Microsoft missed out on.

RBS

For $26.5bn, Microsoft could have acquired the Royal Bank of Scotland. It has over 700 branches across the UK and employs an estimated 92,400 people.

Pampers

If the LinkedIn deal finds itself soiled, $26.3bn will likely acquire nappy brand Pampers.

Subaru

Ever seen Fast and Furious? For 26.3bn Microsoft could have a stake in the Japanese tuning car craze.

Budweiser

One of America’s leading beer brands would have set them back $25.9bn, Worth it for a can of 'America'.

Kellogg’s

A grip on a global cereal market is nothing to turn your nose up at, $25,2bn

Subway

Sandwiches galore, surely this major player in fast food around the world was worth $25.1bn?

Microsoft didn’t even need to invest the $26bn at once however. Here are a few suggested company combos.

Red Bull, Jeep and Pizza Hut.

Clinique, Polo Ralph Lauren and Ferrari.

Whole Foods, Dove and Royal Mail.

Lenovo, Burberry and Heineken.

However, there may be more than meets the eye with the deal. On the LinkedIn acquisition, Forrester analyst Melissa Parrish said: "If Microsoft fully integrates everything from LinkedIn’s feature-set to the data, social media in the workplace will become so much more than a quick way to chat with a colleague or collaborate on a doc. It’ll be pivotal for recruiting and retention; it’ll change the way companies think about employee, prospect, and customer privacy; and it will potentially be a game changer for B2B marketing and social selling."

"Average day-to-day users of the social network likely won’t be affected one way or the other. There is, however, one way small change we think may occur slowly over time: As Microsoft integrates LinkedIn features with workplace applications, people may start to mentally associate LinkedIn more completely with their professional lives. And that could mean a reduction in those (annoying to many, including me) Facebook-style memes, photos, political posts, and other not-really-professional posts. A small side-benefit, but one that would quiet some of the more vocal critics."

On whether the deal will pay off, The Drum polled hundreds of its readers, and 'yes' pulled through in what turned out to be a close race.

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