Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

– Microsoft announced Monday, June 12 that it plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, The Verge reports.

Microsoft’s deal to acquire the work-focused social networking giant is an all-cash transaction, and it will value LinkedIn’s shares at $196 each. Microsoft says LinkedIn will retain its own brand, and independence, and existing CEO Jeff Weiner will remain and report directly to Satya Nadella.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “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.” Microsoft is planning to close its acquisition later this year, and the deal has been approved unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

This is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s first big acquisition since he took over the top job more than two years ago, The Verge says. Microsoft is positioning the combination as the “world’s leading professional cloud” together with the “world’s leading professional network.” It’s clear this is a big acquisition for Microsoft, both in terms of cash value and what LinkedIn brings to the company. More than 433 million people use LinkedIn worldwide to network, find jobs, and reconnect with old colleagues.

Microsoft isn’t saying exactly what it will use its LinkedIn acquisition for. Microsoft did invest in Facebook in the relatively early stages, but the company has struggled to break into enterprise social networks. Microsoft spent $1.2 billion on Yammer back nearly four years ago, but businesses haven’t flocked to the tool as much as Microsoft had hoped. The software giant now plans to hold a conference call to discuss its LinkedIn acquisition.