Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2b

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 16, 2015 shows Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as he watches US President Barack Obama deliver remarks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. Microsoft said June 13, 2016 it signed a deal to acquire the professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash. "The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 16, 2015 shows Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as he watches US President Barack Obama deliver remarks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.<br />Microsoft said June 13, 2016 it signed a deal to acquire the professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash. “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

Microsoft Corp has agreed to buy LinkedIn Corp for $26.2 billion in its biggest-ever deal, combining the software giant’s fast-growing cloud services business with the world’s largest online network for professionals.

The offer of $196 per share represents a premium of 49.5 per cent to LinkedIn’s Friday closing price.

LinkedIn’s shares were up by 48 per cent to $194.28 before the opening bell yesterday, while Microsoft’s shares went down by 3.3 per cent.

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn,” the Chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, said in a statement.

Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.

“I have always had a great admiration for LinkedIn. I have been talking with Reid and Jeff for a while … I have been thinking about this for a long time,” Nadella said in a video on Microsoft’s website.

The deal is expected to close this year, the companies said in a joint statement.

Microsoft said it would issue new debt to fund the deal.

After the deal, LinkedIn will become part of Microsoft’s productivity and business processes unit.

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