Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion

Microsoft Corp. is set to acqire LinkedIn Corp. for $26.2Bn which will be the largest acquisition in its history, anticipating the professional social networking group can rev up the tech titan’s software offerings despite recent struggles by both, Microsoft .

The deal is Chief Executive Satya Nadella’s latest effort to revitalize Microsoft, which was viewed not long ago as left behind by shifts in technology. Mr. Nadella hopes the deal will open new horizons for Microsoft’s Office suite as well as LinkedIn, both of which have saturated their markets, and generally bolster Microsoft’s revenue and competitive position.

Mr. Nadella said today’s work is split between tools workers use to get their jobs done, such as Microsoft’s Office programs, and professional networks that connect workers. The deal, he said, aims to weave those two pieces together.

“It’s really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network,” Mr. Nadella said in an interview on Monday.

For instance, connecting Office directly to LinkedIn could help attendees of meetings learn more about one another directly from invitations in their calendars. Sales representatives using Microsoft’s Dynamics software for managing customer relationships could pick up useful tidbits of background on potential customers from LinkedIn data.

Microsoft also sees opportunities in Lynda.com, a channel for training videos that LinkedIn bought for $1.5 billion last year. Microsoft will be able to offer Lynda’s videos inside its own software, such as Excel spreadsheets.

Mr. Nadella also talked about giving its Cortana digital assistant access to data from LinkedIn.

As for LinkedIn, the deal offers hope to renew decelerating growth as well as an exit for shareholders after the stock tumbled from a peak of $269 in February 2015 to as low as $101.11 last February.

Microsoft is paying $196 per share of LinkedIn, a 50% premium to the LinkedIn’s closing price on Friday. Boards of both the groups approved the deal, and Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s chairman and controlling shareholder, supports the transaction. LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner will keep his current job after the deal, which the companies expect to happen by the end of the year.

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