CEO Laura Welsh and Board Memeber Tony Lorenz Weigh In on Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition

LinkedIn has been acquired by Microsoft to the tune of $26.2 billion. The acquisition potentially represents Microsoft’s new shift towards enterprise social media.

The software giant intends to pay $196 per share which is a 50% premium over LinkedIn’s Friday closing price. The social media platform will be keeping it’s branding and product but will become part of Microsoft’s productivity and business segment. LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner will report to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

According to inc.com, “It is by far Microsoft’s largest acquisition, bigger than Skype, which the company bought for $8.5 billion in 2011.”

However, the deal is still subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, other regulatory approvals, and closing conditions.

“Microsoft may find ways to generate revenue from LinkedIn’s professional network that LinkedIn couldn’t independently,” said Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Brad Reback in the Wall Street Journal.

The acquisition could be big news for developers of mobile apps for meetings, events, and conferences. If LinkedIn is tied to tools like Outlook, one-to-one meetings could be directly associated with calendar and contact functionality.  Imagine participants potentially accessing professional data more efficiently during an expo, and then even adding notes or business card info into OneNote.   

While events professionals are aware of both companies’ products to help in event planning and attendee engagement, this deal will no doubt help weave the two activities together to better help connect professionals at events.

Because this announcement has such a big impact on one of the most used social networks by event professionals, we asked 3 event industry leaders to weigh-in with their thoughts on the acquisition.

Tony Lorenz

LinkedIn is a one of a kind platform for the business community. Our dialogue with LinkedIn leadership has always been productive.

LinkedIn, while significant at well over 440 million users and close to $3 billion in annual revenue, is not nearly the scale of Microsoft at over $90 billion in revenue and a mountain of cash, thanks in part to their relatively early/sometimes forgotten pre-IPO investment in Facebook.

The combination could enable Microsoft to add a suite of sales, marketing and recruiting services to its core business products, and possibly challenge rivals in the cloud such as Salesforce.com over time.

As to the impact of Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn on the meetings industry, I believe it will be moderately favorable in time. Microsoft is a big believer in the power of business events. Together they will identify a way to better target prospective event attendees for event organizers, through an ever larger user base, and a user experience that will deliver highly targeted audience acquisition tactics to Office365 users especially. 

This deal certainly puts Twitter a step closer to an acquisition, and that is especially meaningful to our industry.  It is the boldest acquisition by Microsoft in its history. After Nokia especially, they are due for an M&A win. This just may be it. At minimum, you have to admire the collective vision behind this deal.  

Key is making it work.

— Tony Lorenz, CEO AlliedPR

“With up-to-date LinkedIn profiles, this acquisition has the potential to plug into more systems, giving attendees better insight and improving quality of networking opportunities on site. It’s a great move for business professionals to better connect with technology we use every day.”

— Laura Welsh, CEO Conference Solutions

Michael Barnett

Whether expressed in databases, spreadsheets, or pages, the sharing of ideas with the right people, quickly and easily is the core of productivity in the information age.  Therefore, merging the leaders of these two spaces, business documents and professional networks, should unlock significant value for the present and future users of both companies.

— Michael Barnett, CEO Ingo