Out-Law News 1 min. read

Integrating LinkedIn with Office software would be 'valuable asset' for Microsoft, says expert

Microsoft's $26.2 billion acquisition of professional social networking site LinkedIn will give the software company access to "business relevant data on 400 million-plus users", an expert has said.

Paul Haswell of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that the most expensive acquisition in Microsoft's history made sense in the context of the company's positioning as the best-known provider of productivity software for businesses.

"Proper integration of LinkedIn and Microsoft Office, especially the cloud-based Office 365, would be a valuable asset for Microsoft and help to ensure that it retains its position at the top," he said. "Microsoft may also wish to integrate Lynda, LinkedIn's online training course resource, into its Office offering."

"However, a key value for Microsoft may be in harnessing all the data that LinkedIn holds. Data on skills, roles, people moves and relationships is all data that is valuable for analytics, and that can very easily be monetised," he said.

Microsoft announced on Monday that it had entered into a "definitive agreement" to purchase LinkedIn for $196 per share. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to approval by LinkedIn's shareholders and relevant regulators.

The transaction has the backing of the boards of both Microsoft and LinkedIn, and the social network will "retain its distinct brand, culture and independence" once the acquisition is complete, according to a joint statement by the two companies. LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner will remain in post, reporting to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, according to the announcement.

In a statement, Nadella said that combining Microsoft's cloud-based productivity software with LinkedIn's network had the potential to "change the way the world works".

"The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centred on connecting the world's professionals," he 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 organisation on the planet."

LinkedIn currently has over 433 million worldwide members, 105 million of which visit the site at least once per month, according to the announcement. Office 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft's productivity software package, while Dynamics is its customer relationship management software.

Microsoft's most expensive acquisitions before the announcement of the LinkedIn deal were its $8.5bn purchase of video chat and voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP) platform Skype in May 2011, and its April 2014 acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business for $7.6bn.

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