Microsoft has announced that it will be acquiring professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. The acquisition marks one of the largest technology-industry deals in history. Microsoft will pay $196 per share in an all-cash transaction.
LinkedIn will still continue to operate as an independent company, retaining its branding, but with the backing of one of the biggest names in business technology. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.
The announcement on Monday sent LinkedIn stock soaring nearly 50 percent. This marks the largest and most valuable acquisition in Microsoft’s history.
“We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations,” said Microsoft CEO Nadella in a statement.
LinkedIn and Microsoft to Remain Separate Entities
In a statement of his own, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said “[Nadella’s] vision was to operate LinkedIn as a fully independent entity within Microsoft, a model used with great success by companies like YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. I would remain as CEO and report directly to him instead of a board.”
Microsoft is clearly using LinkedIn as a way to strengthen its connection to the professional world, a space where it makes a large portion of its money. We’ll also likely see greater integration with the business social network in versions of Microsoft’s software, like Office and Windows.