Microsoft said it will acquire professional network LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion.
The deal would give Microsoft access to LinkedIn’s 433 million members worldwide.
The offer price represents a premium of 49.5% to LinkedIn’s closing price last Friday.
LinkedIn will retain its brand and Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Weiner and Reid Hoffman, co-founder, controlling shareholder and chairman of LinkedIn, both supported the deal.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered 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 organization on the planet.”
Weiner said: “Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works.
“For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.”
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of both LinkedIn and Microsoft.
The deal is expected to close this calendar year and is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” said Hoffman.
Microsoft will finance the transaction primarily through the issuance of new debt.
Microsoft said over the past year LinkedIn had launched a new version of its mobile app that has led to increased member engagement, enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights, and acquired online learning platform Lynda.com to enter a new market.
It had also rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers.