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Microsoft Nabs LinkedIn for $26.2B

Microsoft is buying business-focused social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash, Microsoft revealed Monday morning.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is buying LinkedIn Corp. for $196 a share, in a deal that is expected to close this calendar year. LinkedIn now boasts over 433 million members worldwide but has yet to convert its scale into profits.

Still, Microsoft describes LinkedIn as the world's "largest and most valuable professional network." In announcing the deal, Microsoft focused on LinkedIn's growth in membership, 19% year-on-year, and its growth in mobile usage, which is up to 60% of total usage now.

"The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. "Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet."

Microsoft says that it wants to keep the "distinct brand, culture and independence" of LinkedIn. Hence, CEO Jeff Weiner will stay on as CEO of the unit, reporting to Nadella.

You can see the two men talking about the acquisition below:

The boards of both companies have approved the deal. Microsoft says that it doesn't expect the buyout to be accretive to its bottom line for a couple of years.

The cash buyout, however, represents a significant premium for LinkedIn stockholders. The company's shares closed on Friday at $131.08. The shares have shot up to $192.82 in Monday morning trading.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

inkstainedwretch 6/15/2016 | 2:25:13 PM
Makes A Lot of Sense, Tho Maybe Not $26B Worth This is about the massive data centers operated by the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google; it's about big data; and it's about Siri, Cortana, OK Google and rival search facilities. But most of all it's about the most important money making scheme in the tech industry: Google search. And where is that money coming from? Advertisers. 

The companies that can combine all of those assets to create personal assistants that go beyond simple reactions to rudimentary questions ("where is the nearest restaurant?" "what's the weather like in Poughkeepsie?") will end up with incredibly valuable databases on consumer behavior. The first company that can build a holistic model of consumer behavior that takes in all activity -- at home and at work -- could make itself relevant to consumers for years to come, which will make it relevant to advertisers for years to come, and if the first one to do that isn't Google, that company is going to be wresting a nice chunk of ad business from Google.

And thus Microsoft snatches up LinkedIn. It's not a guaranteed payoff, but Microsoft can absolutely afford it. It's a bet, but it's not much of a gamble; it makes sense.

And if buying LinkedIn does pay off, will it pay off next year? Not a chance. But Microsoft and its rivals are playing the long game.

--Brian Santo

mendyk 6/14/2016 | 9:15:49 AM
Re: Seems like a weird deal no? This memo may not set the record for the proportion of first-person-singular references in a document, but it has to be in the upper 10 percentile.
Duh! 6/13/2016 | 2:59:07 PM
Re: Seems like a weird deal no? He explains that too.
DanJones 6/13/2016 | 2:52:36 PM
Re: Seems like a weird deal no? Oh, it no doubt makes sense to LinkedIn management and shareholders!!!!

I meant more the Microsoft perspective.
Duh! 6/13/2016 | 2:38:23 PM
Re: Seems like a weird deal no? Weiner posted the memo to employees on LinkedIn this morning.  It is unusually detailed, concrete and actionable, as these things go.  We've all seen weirder.
brooks7 6/13/2016 | 2:36:15 PM
Re: Seems like a weird deal no? So here is the thing.

It is really, really cheap to get good, valid registrations.  You can write me if you want to kno how.  I am always befuddled by why people spend lots of money for that.


mendyk 6/13/2016 | 2:28:01 PM
Re: Seems like a weird deal no? Good question -- I wonder how many LinkedIn regs are active users. I also wonder about the demographic profile of the LinkedIn base. I'm guessing it skews a bit toward the middle ages.
DanJones 6/13/2016 | 1:04:06 PM
Seems like a weird deal no? I get that companies will pay a big premium for these fizzy massive-user base social apps and sites. Still what is Microsoft going to *do* with LinkedIn?
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