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Microsoft unveils plan to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 bn

Microsoft said Monday it signed a deal to acquire the professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash.

"This deal brings together the world's leading professional cloud with the world's leading professional network," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a statement.

According to a statement from the two firms, LinkedIn "will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence," with Jeff Weiner remained at CEO of LinkedIn.

"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.

The two firms said they had reached a "definitive" agreement that would close later this year, with the support of LinkedIn chairman and controlling shareholder Reid Hoffman.

The move comes with Microsoft refocusing its efforts away from being a pure software firm, and LinkedIn seeking ways to boost growth.

LinkedIn, which enables members to connect with similar-minded professionals and facilitates job hunting, has some 433 million members worldwide.

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