Microsoft has today announced that it plans to acquire the professional social-networking site LinkedIn for $26.2bn (£18.5bn) in cash, making it, quite comfortably, the largest acquisition for the Redmond-based company.
The all-cash transaction is the first big-money deal made by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, who said: "The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals" and "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."
It is likely that this transaction, which is set to be finalised later on this year, will form the cornerstone for Microsoft's go-to strategy for enhancing its social-media position; LinkedIn has over 400m registered users of whom a small percentage pay for premium services. The huge amount of money Microsoft is paying for LinkedIn indicates that Microsoft has thus far failed to properly capitalise on the social-media front.
Though wholly owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence, according to Microsoft. Jeff Weiner will continue to serve as CEO of LinkedIn, though he is to report directly to Nadella once the deal is finalised.