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Richard Bell

Microsoft makes £18bn swoop for LinkedIn

US tech giant Microsoft has entered a deal to buy LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, for more than £18bn in cash.

The Washington-headquartered firm has agreed to pay $196 per share for the website, which is a premium of nearly 50% on LinkedIn’s closing share price on Friday and comes to $26.2bn.

The deal, according to a BBC report, will allow Microsoft to increase sales of its email and business software.

Since the transaction was announced, Microsoft has confirmed that LinkedIn will continue to operate with a “distinct brand, culture and independence”.

News site CNBC has reported that two small boutique banks, Allen & Co. and Qatalyst Partners, represented LinkedIn during the deal.

Mark analysis firm CCS Insight’s head of research, Ben Wood, has said that the deal will provide Microsoft with ready access to the social site’s 430m-strong member network.

He explained: “That’s a valuable asset that can be deeply integrated with a number of Microsoft assets such as Office 365, Exchange and Outlook.

“That said, Microsoft has stated that the company will continue to operate as an independent business, so we’ll have to see how deeply the integration occurs.”

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