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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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News

June 13, 2016 |

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn in Bold Step Into Social Media

The $26.2 billion deal is designed to drive increased engagement and monetization opportunities through integration between Office 365 and Dynamics on the one hand and LinkedIn’s professional network on the other.

Taking a bold step deep into the fast-growing social media market, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp. has acquired LinkedIn Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., in an all-cash transaction valued at an eye-catching $26.2 billion.

Widely regarded as one of the top social media platforms along with Facebook and Twitter and the most popular service for establishing connections with peers and contacts in the business world, LinkedIn currently has over 433 million members worldwide, attracts 105 million unique visiting members per month, and generates more than 45 billion member page views per quarter, according to a Microsoft press release.

In a separate memo to Microsoft employees explaining the deal, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella asserts that combining LinkedIn’s professional networking, job finding, and online learning resources with Microsoft’s Office 365 and Dynamics solutions will produce synergies that drive increased traffic to all three platforms.

“This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete,” he writes. “As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”

Microsoft’s press release also notes that LinkedIn is growing rapidly. Membership, it states, is up 19 percent in the last year, for example, and page views have risen 34 percent. Perhaps most importantly given the increasing strategic importance of mobility generally and mobile consumption of social media specifically, mobile usage has climbed 60 percent.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella says in the press release. “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.”

Seeking to keep the acquisition from disrupting LinkedIn’s recent success or driving key employees to the exit gates, Microsoft will operate LinkedIn—at least initially—as an independent business. CEO Jeff Weiner will remain in that role, Nadella’s memo notes, and LinkedIn will retain its existing brand and culture.

Today’s deal is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders. In an apparent early bid to win their favor, Microsoft emphasized in its announcement that its board and LinkedIn’s directors, including chairman and co-founder Reid Hoffman, endorsed the sale unanimously.

“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,” says Hoffman in Microsoft’s press release.

Though Microsoft held $102.6 billion in cash as of late May, according to Moody’s, it plans to finance the LinkedIn purchase through newly-issued debt. The company expects that move to dilute earnings for the current and next fiscal years by about one percent, and to begin raising earnings in the 2019 fiscal year, which begins next July 1. As of press time, Microsoft shares were down approximately two percent, however, signaling early investor skepticism about the scale and wisdom of the acquisition.

Still to come from Microsoft is word on how or if it plans to integrate LinkedIn with its Yammer solution, an enterprise social media network that provides similar functionality to businesses on an inside-the-firewall basis.


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