Technology and software giant Microsoft has announced that it has entered into an agreement to buy LinkedIn the world’s largest professional social network. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.
According to Microsoft, the acquisition will be a cash transaction and has been set at $196 per share. This will value the deal at $26.2 billion which is inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash.
This becomes the largest acquisition of a social network, beating Facebook’s $19 billion deal for WhatsApp.
Microsoft isn’t new to media acquisitions. It snapped up Skype for $9 billion in 2011 and Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012.
LinkedIn is expected to retain its brand, culture, and independence and its current CEO Jeff Weiner will remain in this position but report to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
The transaction has received full support from the boards of LinkedIn and Microsoft including Reid Hoffman, the chairman, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn.