Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

Microsoft said Monday it will acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal that brings the Mountain View-based online professional-networker under the umbrella of the world’s largest software company.

The deal comes as Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella has been pushing a “cloud first, mobile first” strategy for the company in which it’s focusing more on giving customers easier access to Microsoft’s productivity products, such as its Office 365 suite of applications.

“I’m a deep believer in productivity tools and communication tools because that’s what empowers people to be creative at their jobs,” Nadella said in a video with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in which they talked about why the acquisition came about. “But think about taking that and connecting it with a professional network and really having that entirety of what is your professional life be enhanced, more empowered. … That’s that vision.”

That vision will include access to LinkedIn’s massive base of members. The company says it has 433 million members worldwide and that membership has grown 19 percent over a year ago.

The deal values LinkedIn at $196 a share, or more than 49 percent more than LinkedIn’s Friday closing price of $131.08 a share. The acquisition will be the largest in Microsoft’s history, and is more than three times the $8.5 billion the company paid for Skype Technologies in 2011.

Under terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, LinkedIn is to keep its name and brand, and Weiner will remain as CEO of the business, reporting directly to Nadella. In an email he sent to LinkedIn employees, Weiner addressed the sale and why LinkedIn would want to join Microsoft, which has a mixed track record when it comes to its corporate acquisitions.

“Essentially, we’re both trying to do the same thing but coming at it from two different places,” Weiner said. “For LinkedIn, it’s the professional network, and for Microsoft, the professional cloud. Both of us recognized that combining these assets would be unique and had the potential to unlock some enormous opportunities.”

LinkedIn shares surged more than 47 percent, to $193.41, while Microsoft was off by 3.2 percent at $49.82 a share.

Photo: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner speaks during an event at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View in 2014. On Monday, LinkedIn agreed to be acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion in cash.. (AP Photo/Marco Jose Sanchez, File)


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  • hoapres

    It’s layoff time.
    Or it soon will be, once the economy crashes again.

  • Vigilabo_Vigilum

    LinkedIn has already degenerated quite a bit, but apparently Microsoft needs an even large conduit for Windows 10 nagware. This is just the coup de gras for LinkedIn.

  • Alan Penzotti

    I am very fearful of the data mining opportunities that are now available to Microsoft now that they will own LinkedIn.

    Watch for adverse changes to the LinkedIn privacy policy.

    • Mike Smith

      The privacy risks that follow from the LinkedIn acquisition are insignificant compared to those that stem from Windows 10.

      Microsoft just blew a ton of cash on a mediocre website.

  • Xcalifornian

    This will end ANY usefulness LinkedIn ever had. Microsoft ruins anything and everything it touches….SKYPE comes to mind as a classic example.