New York: Microsoft Corporation will buy LinkedIn Corp for USD 26.2 billion in its biggest-ever deal announced today, giving the world's biggest software provider access to online network of 433 million professionals. Microsoft will pay USD 196 per share in an all-cash transaction, a 49.5 per cent premium to LinkedIn's closing price on Friday.
While LinkedIn will retain its brand, culture and independence, Microsoft will speed up the monetisation by growing individual and organisation subscriptions as well as through targeted advertising.
Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn and report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Reid Hoffman, chairman of LinkedIn's board and the company's controlling shareholder, said the deal has his full support.
Microsoft is looking at combining LinkedIn services to make workers more productive by revealing connections and data that might otherwise take additional steps to find. That could increase the value of Microsoft's Office to customers. In India, LinkedIn has about 650 employees and R&D operations in Bengaluru.
LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Hoffman in 2002 and was officially launched on May 5 in 2003. It has seen 19 per cent growth year-on-year to more than 433 million members worldwide while quarterly member page views rose 34 per cent to over 45 billion. Over 92 million users came from Asia and the Pacific region.
In the first quarter of 2016, LinkedIn's revenue increased 35 per cent y-o-y to reach USD 861 million. It had forecast its revenue for the full year 2016 to be in the range of USD 3.65-3.7 billion.
"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.
"I have always had a great admiration for LinkedIn," said Nadella. "I have been talking with Reid and Jeff for a while... I have been thinking about this for a long time."