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Oracle Is Not Courting Salesforce

You can strike Larry Ellison and Co. off the short list of possible bidders -- for now.

Posted on April 29, 2015, at 7:26 p.m. ET

Eric Risberg / AP

Salesforce may well be listening to takeover offers, but not from Oracle, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Following a Wednesday afternoon report from Bloomberg claiming the business software and services company has been approached with an offer, speculative chatter pointed to Oracle as the most likely possible acquirer.

That's a reasonable assumption; but it's an inaccurate one. While Salesforce's cloud computing prowess may well make it attractive to Oracle, and Oracle may well have the financial heft and merger chops to devour it, it hasn't made a move to do so.

Sources close to Oracle say the company has not approached Salesforce with an offer, though it could certainly afford to make one. So as entertaining an idea as Oracle co-founder and chairman Larry Ellison reuniting with former protégé and longtime frenemy Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff might be, as intriguing a story as Oracle orchestrating the largest ever takeover of a software company sounds, it's not happening right now.

As much as it makes sense to include Oracle on a short list of possible bidders for Salesforce, you can strike it off — for the moment, anyway.

So who's left that could afford Salesforce's very-likely close to $50 billion asking price and has a reason to pay it? Microsoft, IBM, or someone else entirely. The more interesting question? Why would Salesforce, which in February pledged to hit about $6.5 billion in revenue by the end of its 2016 fiscal year, ever sell?

A spokesperson for Salesforce declined to comment on takeover rumors as did a spokeswoman for Oracle.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.