Microsoft said Monday that it will buy professional networking site LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal.
LinkedIn will not change much to the consumer’s eye, at least not at first. Microsoft plans to keep LinkedIn’s “distinct brand, culture and independence,” the company said in a blog post.
Microsoft will pay about $196 per share for LinkedIn, which went public in 2011 in what was one of the largest tech IPOs of the time. That purchase price is a big premium on LinkedIn’s shares, which closed at $131.08 per share on Friday.
The deal is Microsoft’s the largest acquisition ever, and the first big buy under CEO Satya Nadella.
Never miss a local story.
Most of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from services that help companies recruit workers. LinkedIn has more than 433 million members, and more than 7 million job listings on its site.
For Microsoft, the value of LinkedIn isn’t in the cash the company is generating. LinkedIn lost $166 million in 2016, and hasn’t had a profitable year since 2013.
Instead, Microsoft is betting it can use the professional data people plug into LinkedIn to make its own products better.
In an email to employees Monday, Nadella outlined some of the integrations he foresees for the two companies, including a LinkedIn news feed that shows articles that pertain to a project that a user is working on in Office.
Jeff Weiner will stay on as CEO of LinkedIn, and will report to Nadella.
The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards and is expected to close this year.