Microsoft acquires LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

Satya Nadella at LeWeb 2013
Satya Nadella at LeWeb 2013

Microsoft and the social network LinkedIn announced they reached an agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn at a price of $196 per share in cash for a total of $26.2 billion. The agreement provides that LinkedIn will retain its autonomy as a brand and as a company and Jeff Weiner will remain its CEO. The acquisition should be completed by the end of 2016.

The announcement of the agreement between Microsoft and LinkedIn came as a bombshell. Typically in such cases there are rumors and often the conclusion is taken for granted a few days in advance. In this case however it was a surprise, especially because in the case of one of the most popular professional social networks in the world it was strange to receive no communications until the last minute.

Immediately after the official announcement theories began on the reasons that pushed Microsoft to invest so much money. The comments of the protagonists are full of enthusiasm, in particular by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (photo ©OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS). In his release, he named in particular two professional products of his company: Office 365 and Dynamics CRM.

In recent times Microsoft has been pushing a lot in the professional world with products that are more and more work cloud-based, the real foundation of the new company’s offerings. There’s a clear effort to combine these offers with LinkedIn professional services, which have long been not only related to networking such as Premium subscriptions but also other services such as Lynda.com, acquired in April 2015.

LinkedIn claims to have about 433 million users but these numbers have a relative meaning because between spammers and abandoned profiles it’s not clear how many users are genuine and active. The social network claims a continuous growth in visits and the use of its services and in particular from mobile devices.

However, the recent financial results are not good because the last quarter of 2015 closed with a loss. The discontent of investors together with some perspective not exactly positive offered by analysts may have made an important contribution to accept the acquisition by Microsoft.

Lately there are more than ever complaints from LinkedIn users because the recent changes weren’t seen as positive, for example because groups have become more cumbersome to use. The impression is that the social network is focusing more and more on promoting its basic services and also its pay ones, for example by continuously offering trials to the Premium profile.

The acquisition announcement gave mixed effects. Microsoft shares fell, LinkedIn’s surged. Many users have expressed their intention to give up the social network fearing that Microsoft will ruin it. Those are not just free software advocates who see LinkedIn fall into the hands of a company that’s historically monopolistic but also of users who saw other products ruined by Microsoft. Personally, at least for the moment I’m remaining on LinkedIn and see how the social network will develop with Microsoft.

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