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Microsoft has announced plans to buy business-focused social network LinkedIn, in a deal worth US$26.2-billion (R398-billion).
The Redmond company will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share, with the transaction expected to close by the end of the year.
“LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft,” Microsoft said in a press statement.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centred on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said.
“Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organisation on the planet.”
The deal would also make for the largest acquisition by Microsoft.
Why LinkedIn though?
Nadella explained the reason behind the planned buyout.
“Given this is the biggest acquisition for Microsoft since I became CEO, I wanted to share with you how I think about acquisitions overall. To start, I consider if an asset will expand our opportunity — specifically, does it expand our total addressable market? Is this asset riding secular usage and technology trends? And does this asset align with our core business and overall sense of purpose?”
Nadella said that the answer to all the above questions was “squarely yes”, shedding light on the possibilities of a joint effort.
“This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete,” the Microsoft CEO elaborated.
“As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetisation through individual and organisation subscriptions and targeted advertising.”
A growing network
Microsoft and LinkedIn also shared statistics on LinkedIn’s growth.
The network delivered 19% year-on-year growth to over 433 million members worldwide, 9% growth to 105 million unique visiting members per month and 101% year-on-year growth to seven million “active” job listings.
Other interesting statistics include 60% mobile usage and 45 billion “quarterly member page views”.