Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pulled the trigger on the largest acquisition in the company’s history on Monday—a $26.2 billion investment in professional social networking site LinkedIn.
Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn in an all-cash transaction once the deal is finalized, which is expected to be done before year’s end. Nadella told WSJ on Monday that LinkedIn will remain a separate company, with current CEO Jeff Weiner in charge.
No word on exactly what Microsoft wants the company for—however, the merger would team two powerhouses in the professional space, both of whom which have saturated their respective marketplaces.
LinkedIn did acquire Bizo a few years back, one of the largest aggregators of B2B data online. Though the company’s own advertising efforts haven’t yielded much in the way of success, Microsoft (and AppNexus) are in a much better position to utilize both this data, and the millions of impressions LinkedIn generates each day. Microsoft also reportedly sees value in Lynda.com, a training website LinkedIn also recently acquired.
Then again, Microsoft has had their own troubles integrating with acquisitions. Aside from the massive Nokia failure, the company tried professional networking back in 2012 with the purchase of Yammer (a $1.2 billion deal), which really never took off; and ad serving/brokering with aQuantive, which Microsoft thought would be equivalent to Google’s purchase of DoubleClick (it wasn’t).
The Microsoft/LinkedIn acquisition is pending board approval.