Microsoft Buys LinkedIn: 3 Instant Observations

News came through this morning that Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for a truly staggering sum of money, more than Microsoft has paid for any of its other acquisitions: $26.2 billion. And with that, the first of The Big Three social networks — Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — has given in to the pre-social business world.

The complete text of the press release is below, along with a short video offering more insight into what this means for the companies themselves. It appears LinkedIn will remain largely autonomous, with its CEO reporting directly to Microsoft’s CEO.

What does this mean for marketers? The news just came through the wire, but here are three instant observations:

1. More Proof of Social Media Business Models

There had been a lot of questions over the years about whether or not the business plans to monetize these websites held water. But as Facebook and LinkedIn have both focused more on their ability to connect marketers with the right customers — to enable their own unique brands of target marketing — those doubts have gone away. Providing strong platforms to connect marketers with their customers, in this case specifically business customers, is a winning strategy. That’s the power of target marketing.

2. Microsoft Dynamics Game Changer

Salesforce’s success as a CRM really starts with the super-strong business lead data platform One of the only comparable data sources for professionals is LinkedIn, and now that’s in the Microsoft fold. I don’t know and have not had time to investigate what that could or couldn’t allow, but it sounds like a potential game changer, especially as account based marketing heats up.

3. LinkedIn-Outlook Connectivity?

Even below the level of a CRM, I wonder if we could see stronger LinkedIn connectivity with Outlook? Outlook is still the dominant office contact and email platform, but it’s seeing increasing pressure from non-email platforms like Slack and the social networks themselves. Strong connectivity with LinkedIn — perhaps allowing easier connections, instant messaging, non-office communication with contacts, and easier access to LinkedIn’s functions — has a lot of potential.

This is not even scratching the surface of what this could mean for targeted advertising on LinkedIn, that will require more research.

The complete text of the press release is below. Take a look, and let me know what you think it means for marketers.

Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn — Press Release

Microsoft Corp. and LinkedIn Corporation on Monday announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most valuable professional network and continues to build a strong and growing business. Over the past year, the company has launched a new version of its mobile app that has led to increased member engagement; enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights; acquired a leading online learning platform called to enter a new market; and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers. These innovations have resulted in increased membership, engagement and financial results, specifically:

  • 19 percent growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide
  • 9 percent growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month
  • 49 percent growth YOY to 60 percent mobile usage
  • 34 percent growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views
  • 101 percent growth YOY to more than 7 million active job listings

“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.”

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.