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Microsoft just bought LinkedIn for a cool $26.2 billion

This is no ordinary Monday morning for LinkedIn employees, as the business-oriented social network enters into the next phase of its life cycle as part of the Microsoft family. In an announcement this morning, Microsoft revealed that it had acquired LinkedIn for “$196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash.” The Mountain View-based company is said to be retaining its brand, culture, and independence, and Jeff Weiner will maintain his position as CEO.

In a statement, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, noted, “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals. 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.” As per Microsoft’s announcement, the acquisition was “fully supported” by both Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn’s co-founder and chairman of the board) and Weiner both fully support this transaction.

The social network’s continuous growth has led to more than 433 million members worldwide, with over 105 million unique visiting members each month. And as a key recruiting tool, there are now more than 7 million active job listings on the site. In a letter to employees, Nadella said LinkedIn would play a role in the development of Office. “This deal is the next step forward for Office 365 and Dynamics as they connect to the world’s largest and most valuable professional network,” he said.

“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 added to Nadella’s statement. “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.”

(From left to right) Jeff Weiner, Satya Nadella, and Reid Hoffman.

(From left to right) Jeff Weiner, Satya Nadella, and Reid Hoffman.

Microsoft

The $26.2 billion deal is expected to fully close by the end of 2016.

“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,” said Hoffman. “I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it.”

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In his internal memo, Nadella said that there will be no immediate changes to LinkedIn’s organization.

“We know that near term there will be no changes in who reports to whom so no reporting relationships at Microsoft will change in that regard,” Nadella said. “This approach is designed to keep the LinkedIn team focused on driving results while simultaneously partnering on product integration plans with the Office 365 and Dynamics teams.”

Today at 11:45 a.m. ET, the two companies will hold a joint call to further elucidate the new deal. You can watch via webcast here.