European Commission approves Microsoft-LinkedIn deal

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 07 December 2016
European Commission approves Microsoft-LinkedIn deal

Microsoft is to close its US$26 billion deal to acquire LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social network, following approval from the European Commission.

Already approved in the US, Canada, Brazil and South Africa, the acquisition was permitted by the European Commission on the condition that Microsoft made several commitments to ensure rival third-party professional networking sites can remain competitive.

For the next five years, Microsoft will continue to make its Office Add-in program and promotional opportunities in the Office Store available to third-party professional social networking services. IT administrators and users will also be able to choose whether they want to display LinkedIn profile and acitivity information in their Office user interface. Meanwhile, PC manufacturers in the European Economic Area will not be forced to pre-install a Windows LinkedIn app or tile on their new devices.

Microsoft’s biggest-ever acquisition plan was first revealed in June 2016. At the time, it said the deal would enable it to accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

“Microsoft and LinkedIn together have a bigger opportunity to help people online to develop and earn credentials for new skills, identify and pursue new jobs, and become more creative and productive as they work with their colleagues,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, in a blog post. “Working together we can do more to serve not only those with college degrees, but the many people pursuing new experiences, skills and credentials related to vocational training and so-called middle skills. Our ambition is to do our part to create more opportunity for people who haven’t shared in recent economic growth.”

LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner will remain in his position, but will now report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

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