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Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for US$26.2 billion

microsoft logo14Microsoft is buying the professional networking website LinkedIn for just over $26 billion in cash.

The software giant will pay $196 a share - a premium of almost 50% to Friday's closing share price.

In a joint statement, the companies said LinkedIn would retain its “distinct brand, culture and independence” after the acquisition and that LinkedIn Chief Executive Jeff Weiner would remain at the helm and report to Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s chairman and co-founder, called the deal a “re-founding moment” for the Mountain View, Calif. company.

“I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” he said in a statement.

The deal has been unanimously approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders and other regulatory approvals.

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