Professional networking site LinkedIn, will be acquired by Microsoft at $196 per share cash, valuing the company at $26.2 billion.
This announcement came as a surprise to the industry, but falls in line with Microsoft’s increased diversification in recent years, particularly under the leadership of current CEO Satya Nadella. In an email to his employees, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner explained that the deal was in the best interest of both companies. With a current user-base of roughly 430 million, the networking site should benefit from integration into Microsoft’s apps such as Outlook, Office, Calendar and Windows for example, similar to how Skype was integrated with Microsoft devices and software.
LinkedIn will function as an independent entity within the company, with Weiner retaining his post as CEO. The deal provides Microsoft with an opportunity to expand its social reach. The deal is expected to close this year, once it receives shareholder approval.