Business-orientated social network site LinkedIn has landed an acquisition deal with Microsoft worth a staggering $26.2bn.
The all-cash transaction values LinkedIn's shares at $196 each. Currently they trade at around $131 having fallen by around 40 per cent this year.
Microsoft previously paid $8.5bn for Skype in 2011 and $7.2bn for Nokia in 2013.
Existing CEO Jeff Weiner will remain in place, reporting directly to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella, for whom this is his first big acquisition since taking the job. Currently the plan is for LinkedIn to retain its brand and independence.
"The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals," Nadella said. "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."
Weiner added: 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. 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 has over 400m members, which represents a lot of data for Microsoft. Nonetheless, some – such as Companies House chief information officer Gareth Lloyd, are sceptical of the deal: