Source: News Bharati English13 Jun 2016 20:40:33

California, June 13: Software giant Microsoft on Monday announced that it will acquire professional social platform LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.  Microsoft and LinkedIn Corporation announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft. The deal is expected to close this calendar year and is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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Shares of LinkedIn surged 47 percent after the announcement to near $193, while Microsoft's stock was down 3.2 percent. Trading in Microsoft had been halted briefly for news pending before the announcement of the all-cash deal.

LinkedIn Corporation is a social networking website for people in professional jobs. The company started in December 2002, and the website opened May 5, 2003. Users can make connections with other people they have worked with, post their work experience and skills, look for jobs, and look for workers. The site is available in many languages, including most European languages, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Malay. LinkedIn has more than 200 million members around the world.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most valuable professional network and continues to build a strong and growing business. Over the past year, the company has launched a new version of its mobile app that has led to increased member engagement; enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights; acquired a leading online learning platform called Lynda.com to enter a new market; and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers. 

“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.”

“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said. “For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.” Weiner added.

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” said Hoffman. “I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it.”

Microsoft will finance the transaction primarily through the issuance of new indebtedness. Upon closing, Microsoft expects LinkedIn’s financials to be reported as part of Microsoft’s productivity and business processes segment.