Microsoft is set to acquire professional networking site LinkedIn for $US26.2 billion ($AUD35.48 billion). It’s the biggest acquisition from the company under current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
LinkedIn will retain its current branding and independence with CEO Jeff Weiner continuing in the head role, reporting to Nadella.
The deal has been approved by the respective boards and is expected to be completed this calendar year. Once the deal has gone through, LinkedIn’s financials will be reported under Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes.
In an interview with Nadella and Weiner, Nadella said he’d always had an admiration for the platform and it had been in the back of his mind for a while now.
And in an internal memo to staff Nadella said the Microsoft and LinkedIn cultures were very much aligned and suggested growth and partnerships among the Microsoft Office suite.
Weiner’s internal note to staff said to just take the time to process the acquisition, before going into the reasons behind it. Read his full memo, fittingly, on LinkedIn.
“No matter what you’re feeling now, give yourself some time to process the news. You might feel a sense of excitement, fear, sadness, or some combination of all of those emotions.
“Every member of the exec team has experienced the same, but we’ve had months to process. Regardless of the ups and downs, we’ve come out the other side knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is the best thing for our company.”
In a statement, Microsoft’s Nadella said the acquisition will help accelerate the growth of LinkedIn as well as the Microsoft Office suite.
LinkedIn’s Weiner added: “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.
“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.”
Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn said the acquisition was 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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
LinkedIn’s shares have already soared since the announcement, according to the US stock exchange.