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Microsoft Makes Bold Strategic Move to Acquire LinkedIn

Microsoft has agreed to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal. The move is a bold one for Microsoft, and presents significant potential benefits for both Microsoft and LinkedIn customers.

Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch, says that the acquisition is fascinating from a CRM and social email point of view. He explains, “When social ‘happened’ email was written off as dead, old, over. Of course, it didn’t die – it became supplemented by our social platforms and messaging apps. Today is the start of those two distinct worlds becoming one. A big ambitious move, and one that parks a big blue tank on Google, Apple and Facebook’s neatly mowed lawns.”

I wrote more about the Microsoft-LinkedIn news here:

Microsoft and LinkedIn shocked the tech world today with the announcement that Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn. The move is good news for LinkedIn, and a brilliant strategic play by Microsoft, but also raises some concerns about privacy and just how much access Microsoft will share from the social network.

According to a press release from Microsoft, the boards of both Microsoft and LinkedIn have approved the deal at $196 per share—all cash—for a total of $26.2 billion. The press release explains, “LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.”

A blog post from Jeff Weiner about the news stresses that the vision for LinkedIn is not changing and that LinkedIn members will still come first. “Our companies are the world’s leading professional cloud and network. This deal will allow us to keep growing, investing in and innovating on LinkedIn to drive value for our members and our customers. Our members will continue to develop their skills, find a job and be great at that job, using our platform. We will continue to help our customers hire top talent, market their brand, and sell to their customers.”

Experts Weigh In

I reached out to some analysts to get their thoughts on the acquisition. Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst with Enderle Group, is fascinated and impressed by this move. “Microsoft is the only legacy tech company that seems to get why Amazon has been so successful—largely by going around IT and marketing to line managers and users directly. LinkedIn talks to those same people en masse and this should give Microsoft a much stronger voice–assuming it doesn’t muck on the acquisition—than Amazon has.”

Al Hilwa, Program Director for Software Development Research for IDC, told me, “I think this is a great move for Microsoft. LinkedIn’s valuation has come down significantly in the last few months, so it is getting a bargain.”

You can read the full story on Forbes: Microsoft Expands Enterprise Social Media With LinkedIn Acquisition.

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