Microsoft  and LinkedIn have entered into a definitive agreement, under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion. This is the largest acquisition to date for Microsoft.

Microsoft said the professional social networking company will “retain its distinct brand, culture and independence,” with Chief Executive Jeff Weiner remaining at the helm, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said, talking on the acquisition. “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.”

“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, 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,” Mr. Weiner said.

Professional social networking company LinkedIn has more than 433 million members worldwide, with 105 million unique visiting members per month, 45 billion quarterly member page views, and more than seven million active job listings, according to the company.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both the companies, and the deal is expected to close this calendar year subject to customary conditions.

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to Microsoft, with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett acting as legal advisor to Microsoft. Qatalyst Partners and Allen & Company are acting as financial advisors to LinkedIn, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is acting as legal advisor.

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