Microsoft on Monday announced it will acquire professional social networking site LinkedIn in an all-cash transaction worth $26.2 billion. LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, and boasts over 433 million members.
… Microsoft will pay $196 per share to acquire the publicly traded company. Microsoft has vowed to allow LinkedIn to “retain its distinct brand, culture and independence” after the transaction is complete.
The offer of $196 per share represents a premium of 49.5% to LinkedIn’s Friday closing price. The deal is expected to close later this year. Microsoft said it would issue new debt to fund its acquisition.
Jeff Weiner will reportedly remain on as LinkedIn’s chief executive, and will report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The deal was unanimously approved by both boards, and is said to have been supported by both Weiner and Reid Hoffman, chairman of the social network’s board, co-founder and controlling shareholder.
“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.”
In the announcement, Microsoft touted Linkedin’s membership numbers, noting the service’s membership has grown 19% year-over-year, with 105 million unique visitors per month. The site gets 45 billion quarterly member page views, and boasts more than 7 million active job listings.
The acquisition is the largest ever for Microsoft, easily outpacing the $8.5 billion spent to grab Skype in 2011. The new acquisition bumps Microsoft’s 2013 $7.2 billion buy of Nokia down to third-place.