Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy LinkedIn Corp for $26.2 billion in its biggest-ever deal, combining the software giant's fast-growing cloud services business with the world's largest online network for professionals.

The offer of $196 per share represents a premium of 49.5% to LinkedIn's Friday closing price.

LinkedIn's shares were jumped 48% to $194.28 before the opening bell on Monday. Microsoft's shares were down 3.3%.

"Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn," Reid Hoffman, chairman of LinkedIn's board, said in a statement.

Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"I have always had a great admiration for LinkedIn," Nadella said in a video on Microsoft's website. "I have been talking with Reid and Jeff for a while ... I have been thinking about this for a long time." 

The deal is expected to close in 2016, the companies said in a joint statement.

Microsoft said it would issue new debt to fund the deal.

After the deal, LinkedIn will become part of Microsoft's productivity and business processes unit.

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