Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire networking and job behemoth LinkedIn for USD$26.6bn.
The deal, which is an all cash transaction, sees Microsoft buy the business for $196 per share. Since the news broke the company's shares have jumped 47%.
In an announcement about the move Microsoft outlined that LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence, with its current CEO, Jeff Weiner, to remain in his role just now he will report to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman is said to fully support the acquisition, with the deal said to be officially closed out by the end of the calender year.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centred on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella says. “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.”
The deal sees two technology powerhouses merge, with now LinkedIn's network set to be merged with Microsoft's cloud will give the two companies the power to change how the worl works, according to Weiner.
“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,” he says.
Over the past year, LinkedIn 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.
These changes from the business has seen a 19% growth year-on-year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide, and a 101% growth YOY to more than 7 million active job listings.
“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,” Hoffman says. “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.”
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