Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for £18bn, promises the network will retain its ‘distinct brand’

Software giant Microsoft is buying professional networking site LinkedIn for just over $26 billion (around £18 billion).

Microsoft has stated that LinkedIn will retain its ‘distinct brand, culture and independence’.

Jeff Weiner will remain as chief executive of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella.

Reid Hoffman, the chairman, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn has backed the deal, along with Weiner.

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn,” commented Mr Hoffman.

Nadella, added: “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centred on connecting the world’s professionals. Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics.”

The acquisition of LinkedIn will be the biggest Microsoft has ever made.

In a statement to LinkedIn employees, Weiner said little is expected to change and employees will have the same titles and managers.

“The one exception: For those members of the team whose jobs are entirely focused on maintaining LinkedIn’s status as a publicly traded company, we’ll be helping you find your next play. In terms of everything else, it should be business as usual. We have the same mission and vision; we have the same culture and values; and I’m still the CEO of LinkedIn,” he said.

The acquisition of LinkedIn will be the biggest Microsoft has ever made.

LinkedIn shares surged 48 per cent after the announcement was made, while Microsoft’s stock was down four per cent.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, with the acquisition still subject to approval by LinkedIn shareholders and regulators.

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