Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, marking one of the biggest tech mergers in recent memory and giving the software giant a firm foothold in the online professional world.
The move is easily the largest by Microsoft (it bought Nokia for $7.6 billion in 2013 and Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011), and marks its largest entry into the social media realm (it bought Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012).
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and grew into the largest professional social network, with 105 million active monthly users.
Microsoft announced the deal in a blog post on Monday morning.
«The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,» Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the blog post. «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 and LinkedIn released a video promoting the move.
LinkedIn had been struggling as a standalone company. It shares declined a whopping 43%in one day in February after it issued disappointing projections for the year.
The deal values LinkedIn at $196 per share, meaning Microsoft is paying a 50% premium on the company’s Friday share price of about $131.
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, said that the combination will help Microsoft on its mission to become the premier business-to-business and workplace company.
“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.
Weiner will remain atop the company, according to the press release.
While LinkedIn shares predictably skyrocketed following the news, the market was less excited for Microsoft. It’s shares were down 3.6% in premarket trading on Monday morning.
This story is developing…