Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn Professional Social Network In Blockbuster $26.2 Billion All-Cash Deal

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Microsoft has just announced its intentions to purchase the “professional” social networking site LinkedIn for a staggering $26.2 billion in an all-cash transaction. That values LinkedIn at around $196 a share, compared to Friday’s close of $131.08 a share.

This marks Satya Nadella’s largest acquisition to date following his arrival as CEO of Microsoft in early 2014 and plays into his efforts to increasingly focus Microsoft’s attention to business customers. LinkedIn has experienced nearly 20 percent year-over-year growth, and has amassed 433 million users worldwide. The site has 105 million unique visitors each month, with 60 percent of those users taking advantage of the mobile version of the site. In addition, LinkedIn has seen a 101 percent year-over-year grown in active jobs listings (which now sits at 7 million).

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LinkedIn is the go-to place for people to put their resumes out in the open to find new jobs, and for companies looking to hire experienced talent. LinkedIn has also tapped into new markets with the recent acquisition of the online learning portal and has deployed an enhanced version of its Recruiter tool for enterprise customers. The furious growth of LinkedIn and its exclusive catering to business professionals no doubt made the company very attractive to Microsoft.

“This deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network,” said Nadella in an email to Microsoft employees. “Along with the new growth in our Office 365 commercial and Dynamics businesses this deal is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes.

“Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics.”

According to Microsoft, LinkedIn will “retain its distinct brand, culture and independence” and to solidify that point, current CEO Jeff Weiner will retain his position following the completion of the acquisition (which is expected to close by year’s end). Weiner will also report directly to Satya Nadella.