Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion, and WhatsApp for $19 billion, while Google "only" spent $1.65 billion on YouTube, and Yahoo dropped $1.1 billion on Tumblr. Microsoft just put all those social media acquisitions to shame, announcing it will acquire business social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion to take definitive control of how we all curate our online professional lives.
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Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share, with LinkedIn retaining its brand and CEO Jeff Weiner, who will now report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. This isn't Microsoft's first acquisition in the enterprise social networking space; the company spent $1.2 billion on enterprise collaboration software Yammer in 2012. The tech giant buys LinkedIn at one of the company's weakest moments since LinkedIn's initial public offering (IPO) in 2011; a few months back the company's stock price plunged more 50 percent, but as this acquisition shows, it wasn't time to write off LinkedIn just yet.
"The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals," said Nadella in a news release. "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 implications of this massive deal could see a LinkedIn login with every Microsoft Azure-based cloud service, from Office 365 and Skype to its OneDrive cloud service, taking a Facebook-like approach to a single business login tied to Azure Active Directory (AAD). But that's only the beginning of what Microsoft could do with a mature social network of this scale woven ubiquitously into our digital lives. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.
For more, read Nadella's memo to staff about the acquisition. "We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations," he writes, though "A big part of this deal is accelerating LinkedIn's growth. To that end, LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand and independence, as well as their culture which is very much aligned with ours."