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MS acquires LIMicrosoft on Monday announced that it would acquire professional networking website LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal billed as one of the largest such acquisitions in the social media space.

LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence and Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, Indian-born Microsoft CEO, the tech giant said in a statement.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals. 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,” said Nadella.

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” added Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn.

“I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it,” Hoffman added.

Over the past year, LinkedIn has launched a new version of its mobile app that has led to increased member engagement and enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights.

It acquired a leading online learning platform called Lynda.com to enter a new market and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers.

“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said.

“For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story,” he added.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft. The deal is expected to close in this financial year.

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