On Tuesday afternoon, shares in cloud computing company Salesforce were halted up 5.9% following reports that Microsoft was considering buying the company. It is thought that the Microsoft evaluation was prompted by news that another potential buyer had approached Salesforce, write Alex Sherman, Dina Bass and Matthew Campbell for Bloomberg.

Microsoft Corporation Considering Bid For Salesforce.com, Inc. [REPORT]

Salesforce said to be considering two bids

Salesforce currently has a market value of $47 billion, and is considering its response to the takeover bids with the help of two investment banks. Insiders claim that at this point the company could still either reject any takeover attempt or decide to thrash out a deal.

The sources claim that talks are not yet underway between the two companies, and a deal is far from being sealed. However one of the sources said that Microsoft has long considered targeting Salesforce if the company were ever put up for sale. Reports claim that a rival company was in takeover talks with Salesforce as recently as last month, encouraging Microsoft to take action.

Salesforce is an attractive target for a takeover, given its position as an industry leader in customer relationship management (CRM) software, and its expertise in cloud computing. The sector, which involves delivering business software and services via the Internet, is highly competitive, with major players such as Microsoft and Amazon battling it out for supremacy.\

Microsoft and Salesforce: Cloud computing of great importance

Last year Microsoft and Salesforce reached an agreement which promoted the integration of their respective software.  Microsoft’s customer management software is not as highly regarded as that of Salesforce, and the sector has become an increasing priority for the company under CEO Satya Nadella.

In an announcement made last week, Microsoft set a goal of achieving a $20 billion revenue run rate for its commercial cloud computing business, a figure which the company aims to achieve by the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

According to Oracle Corp. CEO Safra Catz, the software market would be disrupted by any acquisition of Salesforce, although she declined to say whether the company she heads was considering a bid.

Although Salesforce took part in talks with SAP SE last year concerning a strategic alliance, SAP has now claimed that it is not considering a bid for Salesforce.