Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said it will buy LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) in a deal valued at $26.2 billion, giving the world’s biggest software provider access to a virtual Rolodex of connected business professionals.
Microsoft will pay $196 per share in an all-cash transaction, including LinkedIn’s net cash, a 49.5 percent premium to LinkedIn’s closing price Friday. LinkedIn will retain its brand, culture and independence and Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive officer of the company, Microsoft said in a statement Monday. The offer values LinkedIn about 91 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest multiple of any takeover valued at more than $5 billion this year, the data show.
The deal is the largest under the tenure of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who has been reshaping Microsoft since taking over in 2014 to appeal more to business customers with cloud-based services and productivity tools. LinkedIn isn’t an obvious fit in the ongoing restructuring, but gives Microsoft the biggest global social network for professionals that’s used by job seekers, recruiters and human resources teams. In a statement, Nadella said the acquisition could drive growth for LinkedIn as well as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Dynamics services.