LinkedIn & Microsoft Announce Love Child

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One of the biggest tech mergers of all time was announced early this morning: Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.

This puts Microsoft’s investment at $196 per share—50% more than LinkedIn stocks were valued on Friday at market close. Following the announcement, LinkedIn stocks shot up to nearly the new high-dollar purchase price.

The partnership, which unites LinkedIn’s professionals-oriented social network with Microsoft’s global domination of the computer systems market, holds interesting possibilities. Microsoft execs have voiced that the LinkedIn brand and major operations will not change greatly, but they intend to integrate the social platform with Microsoft 365 functionality.

Personally, we’re interested to see how the deal will effect our B2B clients. You may recall that our Adkisson MADNESS campaign from earlier this year was heavily LinkedIn-based. While professional statements have been prepared voicing support for the deal, online commentary is less than enthused. One Business Insider reader named “Alligator Breath” commented:

“I guess the next changes to expect on LinkedIn are as follows:

  1. An annoying alert if it detects you are using anything other than Windows 10
  1. Bing search engine box all over the page
  1. Promos for Edge (AKA Internet Explorer)
  1. Searching LinkedIn will now take longer

If Microsoft would be smarter they would not try catching a falling knife, but rather take some serious cash and buy Snapchat.” 

This reader’s skepmicrosoft-und-linkedinticism is not alone. The news is fresh, but has already prompted a lot of opinions online—mostly disbelief at the price paid for LinkedIn, given the stock price the week before. O
thers seem to think LinkedIn will lose some of its focus and brand integrity, and still others think LinkedIn is worthless to begin with.

Current LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is only seeing the silver lining, however:

“[The] vision was to operate LinkedIn as a fully independent entity within Microsoft, a model used with great success by companies like YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. I would remain as CEO and report directly to him instead of a board. Together, along with Reid, Bill Gates, my former colleague Qi Lu, and new partner Scott Guthrie, we would partner on how best to leverage this extraordinary combination of assets while pursuing a shared mission. This, we both agreed, might not only be a structure that could work, it would be one in which both companies could thrive.”

The deal is set to go through by the end of the fiscal year. We’ll keep you in the loop about how any LinkedIn changes could effect the marketing usefulness of the platform. Perhaps the integration with Microsoft will provide even more opportunities for B2B users. Read more about the deal here, and more from CEO Jeff Weiner’s company statement here.

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