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Microsoft buying LinkedIn for US$26.2B

Microsoft Corp. is acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, the companies announced today. The acquisition is the software giant’s largest so far. In 2011, it bought Skype for $8.5B. The Nokia deal, which was completed in 2013, was valued at $7.2B.

LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.

“The acquisition makes sense in respect of Microsoft’s link with enterprise in its cloud platform and portfolio of enterprise business services, it will help Microsoft build out its enterprise services capabilities,” comments Mark Skilton, a Professor of Practice in the Information Systems & Management Group at the UK-based Warwick Business School, in a statement sent to UpgradeMag.com.

“The long running rumours of LinkedIn not being able to develop any new growth strategies, with its net income falling year on year from 2011, have finally come home to roost with the Microsoft acquisition of $26bn in cash.”

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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. These innovations have resulted in increased membership, engagement and financial results, specifically:

  • 19 percent growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide
  • 9 percent growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month
  • 49 percent growth YOY to 60 percent mobile usage
  • 34 percent growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views
  • 101 percent growth YOY to more than 7 million active job listings

“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.”

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.

“LinkedIn has grown a user base of 106 million active users, but compared to 310 million active Twitter users and the mighty 1.65 billion Facebook monthly users, LinkedIn has never managed to grow its commercial services in what could have been a strong enterprise market.

“LinkedIn makes two thirds of its income from talent solutions in recruiting and job market services that define it and the remainder in selling marketing solutions and premium subscriptions. It has remained the website to go to for professional networking,” says Skilton.

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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.

 

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