Microsoft on Monday announced that it has entered into an agreement with LinkedIn to acquire it for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash.

In the agreement, LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence, as Jeff Weiner will remain its CEO, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

The transaction has the full support of Reid Hoffman, chairman of LinkedIn board, co-founder and controlling shareholder and is expected to close this calendar year.

“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.”

“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.”

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft.

“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,” said Hoffman. “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.”

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