Microsoft has announced today that it is acquiring the professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2bn (£18.5bn) cash.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, will remain in his role, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft has announced that the LinkedIn “brand, culture and overall independence will remain intact”.
LinkedIn co-founder and executive chairman Reid Hoffman, is reported to back the deal fully.
The transaction is expected to complete this calendar year, however it is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and “other customary closing conditions”.
The two parties have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash.
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 calledto 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% growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide
- 9% growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month
- 49% growth YOY to 60 percent mobile usage
- 34% growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views
- 101% 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 organisation on the planet”.
“This relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to change the way the world works,” Weiner said. “I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story”.
“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 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”.
Morgan Stanley is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Microsoft, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal advisor to Microsoft. Qatalyst Partners and Allen & Company LLC are acting as financial advisors to LinkedIn, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation, is acting as legal advisor.
London, 13 June 2016