Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

Microsoft has announced it is to acquire LinkedIn in a transaction valued at $26.2 billion.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in a press release. “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.”

Once the deal is complete, expected to be some time later in 2016, LinkedIn will stay as it currently is in terms of “brand, culture and independence,” the announcement noted. LinkedIn CEO will remain at the helm of the new Microsoft subsidiary, and will report directly to Satya Nadella.

Founded out of California in 2002, LinkedIn today claims north of 400 million members globally, and 105 million unique monthly visitors, and has emerged as the de facto social network for professionals. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2011, and claimed around $3 billion in revenue last year, but there is only so much room for growth in LinkedIn’s world which is why selling to a major technology company may make sense — monetizing social networks isn’t an easy job.

For Microsoft, the deal represents its biggest acquisition by quite some distance — its next most valuable acquisition came back in 2011 when it snapped up Skype for $8.5 billion