In a joint statement, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) announced that the networking site would be acquired by the tech titan in an all cash deal worth $26.2 billion. The terms of the deal value LinkedIn at $196 per share. That’s considerably higher than Friday’s closing price of $131.08. The deal is expected to close by year’s end.
The boards of both LinkedIn and Microsoft have endorsed the acquisition deal. If the deal closes as expected, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will continue at the helm of the company, but will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The transaction must still get regulatory and other approvals.
The social network will become a part of Microsoft’s productivity and business processes segment. According to the joint statement, LinkedIn will keep its “distinct brand, culture and independence.” According to Microsoft’s SEC filing for the merger, if the deal fails, LinkedIn will have to pay Microsoft a $725 million termination fee.
The company claims 60 percent of all traffic on mobile, has 45 billion quarterly page views and has tripled its revenues since 2012. Its platform currently has about 7 million active job listings. LinkedIn’s recruitment business accounted for $2 billion of the company’s $3 billion in revenues in 2015.
LinkedIn has faced several serious issues over the past two years. The acquisition of online training site Lynda.com was expensive and did not increase revenue as fast as expected. The stock hit a low of about $101 in early February after the company released a disappointing earnings forecast for the coming year.
The acquisition is a big one for both sides. Microsoft is striving to become an essential provider of cloud-based services to businesses. LinkedIn will give Microsoft a much larger reach in terms of social networking services and professional content. The acquisition of LinkedIn would be Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever. In 2011, the company paid $8.5 billion for communications software maker Skype.