Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2bn

Microsoft plans to use LinkedIn’s social graph as an integrated selling tool alongside its existing customer relationship products, which are currently second to Salesforce in the market. The deal also gives the software company a foot in the online learning market, through LinkedIn’s ownership of

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence, said Microsoft in a statement. Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella. The deal was back by Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s co-founder, chairman and controlling shareholder.

“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.”

LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner added: “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.”