LinkedIn Hopes For Soft Link With Microsoft

Can LinkedIn maintain its independence under the Microsoft umbrella? Global Finance asks Managing Director, Daniel Domberger for this thoughts.

When Jeff Weiner first joined LinkedIn in 2008, it was, in his words, to massively scale LinkedIn's membership and business, both of which had the potential to fundamentally transform the way the world connects to opportunity.

LinkedIn's $26 billion acquisition by Microsoft just might enable Weiner to achieve that. Weiner says the unique way in which the acquisition will be structured will allow LinkedIn to control its own destiny:

“Selling your company is always emotional, and Weiner will be torn in two. To maintain LinkedIn's identity and pursue his independent vision for it, he has to avoid integration, [but] for Microsoft to get any value out of LinkedIn, it will need to integrate.”

The synergy case is pretty thin even with integration; without it, it's a hollow reference to cross-selling.” says Daniel Domberger.

Microsoft's ecosystem of over a billion customers plus tools such as Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana and Bing presents Weiner with prospects to create new solutions for LinkedIn users. But he won't be as free as he was before.

As Domberger notes: You can't sell in an all-cash deal and expect to retain your independence, whatever the press release says.”

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