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Why LinkedIn is worth $26.2 billion to Microsoft (+video)

Microsoft and LinkedIn will be sharing their cloud computing and social network resources in a new partnership, both companies announced Monday.

The Facebook of the business world is getting a new owner.

On Monday, Microsoft announced it will acquire LinkedIn, the professional social network, for $26.2 billion, or $196 per share. LinkedIn will remain its own independent brand, but its chief executive, Jeff Weiner, will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. LinkedIn’s finances will be reported in Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes segment going forward.

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s board chairman, said in a statement.

LinkedIn has been busy forming corporate partnerships in recent years. In April of 2015, LinkedIn acquired Lynda, an online learning platform, for $1.5 billion. It’s also revamped its mobile app and made tweaks to its newsfeed, with the aim of sharpening its presentation and delivering a better user experience.

According to the company, the partnership with Lynda, and the mobile and web updates, have increased LinkedIn’s membership by 19 percent, to more than 433 million members over the past year. LinkedIn’s mobile user base has also grown. Sixty percent of the site's users now connect through its mobile platform.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “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.”

“For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said in a press release. 

LinkedIn regularly conducts research based on its users’ job experience, and in doing do has has built up a vast database of employment information. In early June, the company launched a new series of metrics that allow users who have a “Job Seekers” subscription to access openings where they would be among the most successful applicants for the position. Users will also be able to see the companies that are growing the fastest in their chosen field.   

The companies say the partnership will help LinkedIn improve its offerings, including job listings and Recruiter, a hiring tool. But it also help Microsoft, which  will be pooling its professional cloud resources with LinkedIn’s professional network to connect and empower more businesses and individuals.

“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,” Weiner said.

The LinkedIn acquisition is the latest investment Microsoft has made in the cloud computing space. In May, Microsoft infused $71 million in Pivotal, a cloud computing and Big Data firm based in Silicon Valley, during a funding round that totaled $253 million. Microsoft made the investment in order to better integrate Microsoft’s cloud computing services with the ones that Pivotal offers.  

Cloud computing is becoming important in a wide array of industries, even beyond Silicon Valley. Automaker Ford also got in on the action, investing $182.2 million in Pivotal.

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