Microsoft has today (13 June) announced plans to acquire professional networking platform LinkedIn in a mammoth deal valued at $26.2bn.
Microsoft claims that the agreement will allow LinkedIn to retain its brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain LinkedIn chief executive officer, reporting to his Microsoft equivalent, Satya Nadella.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centred on connecting the world’s professionals,” said Nadella. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organisation 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 added.
“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.”
LinkedIn has seen 19% growth year-on-year in membership, 9% year-on-year for unique visiting members and 49% year-on-year for mobile usage off the back on innovations like its new mobile app, enhanced newsfeed, the roll-out of its new recruiter product and the acquisition of online learning platform Lynda.com.
The transaction, which will be financed by Microsoft through the issuing of new debt, has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors at both companies, but is subject to approval of LinkedIn shareholders and regulators.
“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 LinkedIn chairman, co-founder and controlling shareholder Reid 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.”