Microsoft's $26b LinkedIn buy its biggest deal ever
Microsoft has said it is buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash in its biggest-ever acquisition.
In a post on the Microsoft website, Microsoft said that that the deal values LinkedIn at $196 per share.
Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Nadella said that as a user of LinkedIn and a publisher on LinkedIn, he was excited to work with the site because of the way it empowers people to take the next step in their careers.
He encouraged Microsoft staff to sign up to LinkedIn and get to know the service better, if they weren't already members.
Nadella told Weiner that the two companies must be aligned in purpose and structure.
"It was after the purpose discussion where there was a lot of excitement.
"Satya said you guys have to help write the rules, you have your independence, we have this shared sense of alignment," Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO, said.
According to the tag lines on the promotion video in which the two men were speaking, LinkedIn's mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful, while Microsoft wants to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.
The deal was described as a "re-founding moment" by Reid Hoffmann, LinkedIn chairman, who said it was an "incredible opportunity for our members and customers".
Not all analysts were happy, however. Augustin Eden at City firm Accendo Markets took shots at the amount Microsoft was willing to pay for LinkedIn and the knock on effect on shareholders, who may take their money and run from the tech behemoth.
"Shares in professional networking/dating/narcissism website LinkedIn are called to open around 40 per cent higher at the US open after confirmation it has welcomed a mammoth takeover approach from Microsoft constituting a nigh on 50 per cent premium over Friday's share price close," Eden said.
"Shares in Microsoft were understandably suspended from trading in the lead-up to this bit of news, given that the traditional reaction to such an announcement often involves a shareholder exodus from the predator. With this deal lightening Microsoft's coffers to the tune of $26 billion, make that an exodus of biblical proportions," he added.
LinkedIn shares surged 49 per cent in premarket trading in New York to $194.63, while Microsoft shares fell 3.7 per cent to $49.60.