Wow! Microsoft Plans to Acquire LinkedIn

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Microsoft Plans to Be the New Owner of LinkedIn via Acquisition

Some big news to start off the week: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD) will soon be joining forces.

Microsoft Plans to Be the New Owner of LinkedIn via Acquisition

Microsoft announced today that it plans to purchase LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, which includes LinkedIn’s net cash.

LinkedIn will remain distinct from Microsoft, and Jeff Weiner will stay on as CEO, reporting to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, the announcement says.

The acquisition also includes the educational site, which LinkedIn acquired in April 2015.

Microsoft has many good reasons to buy LinkedIn. The network has shown substantial growth since its founding in December 2002 and now numbers 433 million members worldwide. 105 million people visit the site monthly. Recruitment factors in heavily, too, with more than seven million active job listings.

The site has become a mainstay for millions of small business owners and entrepreneurs, who rely on it for professional networking, business development and use LinkedIn for employee recruitment.

In a memo to Microsoft employees, Nadella said this about the acquisition:

“This deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network. I have been learning about LinkedIn for some time while also reflecting on how networks can truly differentiate cloud services. It’s clear to me that the LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business and an impressive network of more than 433 million professionals.”

Nadella views LinkedIn as a vehicle through which Microsoft can grow its Office 365 and Dynamics CRM products. He and Weiner discuss the big announcement further in this video:

“Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet,” Nadella said in the announcement.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft and is expected to close before year’s end. LinkedIn’s shareholders still have to voice their approval, however, and it has to pass the muster of certain regulatory bodies and meet other closing conditions before being finalized.

Image: (from Microsoft) CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner discuss the acquisition