By Julia Love

By Julia Love

(Reuters) - Inc <CRM.N> Chief Executive Marc Benioff spoke on Wednesday about a pair of key acquisitions that got away, suggesting his vision for LinkedIn <LNKD.N> was different from Microsoft's <MSFT.O> and that he would have pursued Twitter <TWTR.N> if shareholders had not learned of his plans

Speaking at a technology conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal in Laguna Beach, Calif., Benioff declined to elaborate on what he had hoped to do with micro-blogging site Twitter Inc.

Twitter hired bankers earlier in October to explore selling itself. Technology and media companies including, Walt Disney Co <DIS.N> and Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google looked at the company but passed on buying it.


Some regarded Twitter as an unlikely fit for, whose platform is popular among sales teams. Benioff said he was forced to drop the deal when investors began voicing concerns.

“We’ve never had a deal leak before, we don’t really understand that dynamic,” said Benioff, who is an avid Twitter user. “We had to stop because I’m running the business in partnership with my shareholders.”

Benioff was also effusive about his interest in professional social networking site LinkedIn Corp, which Microsoft Corp agreed to buy for $26.2 billion in June. Benioff told technology news website Recode in June that made a bid for LinkedIn and was primarily interested in its recruiting business.

Benioff on Wednesday said he saw parallels between’s business model and LinkedIn’s.

“We really liked some of the business fundamentals,” he said, adding few details on his vision for an acquisition of LinkedIn.

He contrasted that vision with Microsoft’s, which he said centered on mingling the companies' data streams to make it difficult for other companies to compete. has raised concerns about the deal to European antitrust regulators.

“Last time I checked, that was illegal,” he said of Microsoft's plans for LinkedIn's data.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Andrew Hay)