Microsoft Corp. and online professional network
LinkedIn Corporation have made a landmark announcemen
t today of entering into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft is to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. The deal is an all-cash transaction at $196 per share at a premium of 49.5% from Friday’s close.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “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.”
The release conveyed that Jeff Weiner would continue his tenure as the CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Nadella. Also LinkedIn’s brand, culture and independence will remain intact and unhindered by this acquisition.
“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,” Weiner said.
“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 deal is believed to have won the confidence and support of the board of LinkedIn that includes Reid Hoffman, Chairman of the board, Co-founder and controlling stake-holder of the company. However, it is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.
“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. “I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it.”
The joint statement revealed that the deal would become earnings accretive to Microsoft’s non-GAAP earnings per share in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2019 or less than two years post-closing. Non-GAAP includes stock-based compensation expense consistent with Microsoft’s reporting practice, and excludes expected impact of purchase accounting adjustments as well as integration and transaction-related expenses.
This stands as the largest deal under Satya Nadella’s tenure as CEO so far, who has been increasing Microsoft’s appeal more to business customers with cloud-based services and productivity tools. Microsoft and LinkedIn are expected to host a joint conference call
with investors at 21:15 hours (IST) today to discuss this transaction. The call will be hosted by Nadella and Weiner, as well as Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood and Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.