Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

 

Microsoft announced a $26.2 billion deal on Monday to acquire professional social platform LinkedIn for $196 per share.

Shares of LinkedIn surged 47 percent after the announcement to near $193, while Microsoft’s stock was down 3.2 percent. Trading in Microsoft had been halted briefly for news pending before the announcement of the all-cash deal.

Moody’s Investors Service placed Microsoft’s “AAA” rating under review for downgrade following the deal announcement. Standard & Poor’s though, reaffirmed its “AAA” rating, and said it maintains all other ratings and a “stable outlook” on the company.

Jeff Weiner will stay on as CEO of LinkedIn and will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The deal was unanimously approved by both companies’ boards, and is expected to close by the end of the year. The acquisition is still subject to approval by LinkedIn shareholders and regulators.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” 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.”

In a statement to LinkedIn employees, Weiner said “little is expected to change” and employees will have the same titles and managers.

“The one exception: For those members of the team whose jobs are entirely focused on maintaining LinkedIn’s status as a publicly traded company, we’ll be helping you find your next play,” Weiner said. “In terms of everything else, it should be business as usual. We have the same mission and vision; we have the same culture and values; and I’m still the CEO of LinkedIn.”

Shares of LinkedIn had peaked in the past year at $258.39. The stock is down more than 14 percent year to date, and 10 percent in the past year. LinkedIn, which has more than 400 million members, acquired online education company Lynda.com last April. It rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product this year, which the company said increased membership, engagement and financial results.

Shares of Microsoft traded near $50 on Monday, down from their 52-week high of $56.85. The company’s stock has gained more than 8 percent year over year.

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