‘Dream big’: Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn in $26.2 billion transaction

Satya Nadella has called it his first big deal as CEO at Microsoft Corp.

Satya Nadella has called it his first big deal as CEO at Microsoft Corp.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner noted that it gives the Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation a chance to change how the world works. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder, said it’s a re-founding moment for the corporation.

The trio is talking about Microsoft and LinkedIn entering into a definitive agreement that has Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash.

According to a press release, Monday’s transaction — which is expected to close this calendar year — has been unanimously approved by both companies’ boards of directors. The deal is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence, and Weiner and Hoffman will maintain their positions and both fully support this transaction.

“I have always had a great admiration for LinkedIn and what Reid and Jeff and the team here have built. I’m a user of LinkedIn, I’m a publisher of LinkedIn,” Nadella said in a video interview posted on Microsoft’s site. “As I’ve thought about it more in terms of what is it that is most needed in today’s world, for sure I’m a deep believer in productivity tools and communication tools.”

That’s what empowers people to be able to be creative at their jobs, Nadella added. Through the Microsoft-LinkedIn connection, people’s lives can be enhanced while they’re acquiring new skills to be more successful at their current job or searching for a bigger next job, he said.

Weiner — who will report to Nadella — said LinkedIn has changed the way its 400 million-plus worldwide users in the professional realm connect to opportunity, and the relationship with Microsoft will be effective in combining its cloud and LinkedIn’s network.

Weiner said in the video interview that when he began significant discussions about the acquisition with Nadella, the Microsoft CEO noted that key areas would need to be purpose and structure.

“Satya said time and time again, ‘You guys have to help write the rules here, we’re going to do this differently,'” he added.

Nadella told Weiner that while LinkedIn has its independence, the two companies have a shared sense of alignment. The first principle will be to “dream big” and think about what’s possible, Weiner said.

Microsoft’s CEO said he’s been thinking about this acquisition for a long time and he’s glad it’s come to fruition.

Over the past year, LinkedIn — which continues to build a strong and growing business, according to the release — has launched a new version of its mobile app that has led to increased member engagement; enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights; acquired a leading online learning platform called Lynda.com to enter a new market; and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers.

Microsoft will finance the transaction primarily through the issuance of new indebtedness. Upon closing, Microsoft expects LinkedIn’s financials to be reported as part of Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes segment.