In its quest to become the world’s productivity hub, Microsoft announced today that it’s buying LinkedIn, the largest professional social network in the world.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the $26.2 billion acquisition in a Tweet, quickly driving LinkedIn stock up 48 percent.
.@Microsoft & @LinkedIn: world’s leading professional cloud + world’s leading professional network https://t.co/63V90F77Wj
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) June 13, 2016
For Microsoft, the deal makes some sense. As the company has weaned itself off the smartphone business, faced with fierce international competition, Nadella has redefined the company’s mission, calling Microsoft a “productivity and platform company for a mobile first and cloud-first world.”
LinkedIn, which is home to more than 7 million job listings and has substantial mobile traction already, would seem to complement that mission. The acquisition also gives Microsoft a strong foothold in the world of social networking, without having to build a social network from scratch at this late stage in the game.
Not only does it have more than 433 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is also a growing force in business publishing, as leading minds in the business world, including Nadella himself, become publishers on the platform.
For years, Microsoft had been following the likes of Apple and Android in its quest to make a more competitive smartphone. Now, it seems, it’s Facebook that Microsoft would most like to emulate.
“Believe me, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” Nadella said in a video announcing the acquisition, which he recorded with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
Weiner cast the acquisition as a major opportunity not just for Microsoft, but for LinkedIn, because it gives the somewhat staid social network a chance to be more creative. “This relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said in a statement.
In the video, Weiner also assures LinkedIn users that Microsoft has promised the company it will “help write the rules,” and have its “independence.”
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was also involved in the acquisition talks. In a statement, he called this “an incredible opportunity for LinkedIn.”
“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn,” Hoffman said.
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