In a surprise move, Information Technology giant, Microsoft acquired online business-networking portal, LinkedIn for $26.2 billion cash deal expected to close later this year. The Redmond-based vendor said LinkedIn will retain its “distinct brand, culture and independence.” Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella.
LinkedIn claims to have 433 million members and 105 million unique visiting members per month. The network was founded in 2002 and launched in 2003. It floated In New York in 2011 with a value at the time of $4.25 billion.
Microsoft’s $196 per share offer is a 50 per cent premium on the stock’s closing price last Friday. Shares in LinkedIn surged 47.8 per cent on the news, while Microsoft’s share price fell by 4.1 per cent. LinkedIn reported a net loss of $45.8 million in the three months to 31 March, compared with $42.5 million a year earlier. Its annual revenue is around $3 billion.
Over the last one year LinkedIn has taken a number of efforts to enhance the quality of user experience on its portal. It launched a new version of its mobile app and also introduced new functionalities such as blog posting for every member.
“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.