LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner: ‘Satya Has Made Good’ On Microsoft’s Acquisition Agreement

By Amit Chowdhry ● December 28, 2019
  • LinkedIn chief executive officer Jeff Weiner acknowledged that Satya Nadella “has made good” on the Microsoft’s acquisition of the professional social network

In June 2016, Microsoft announced it was buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. This deal was made under the leadership of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. At the time of the acquisition, Microsoft gave a presentation to investors about potential integrations between Microsoft and LinkedIn. Some of those ideas are already implemented, but others are still in the pipeline.

In an interview with CNBC, LinkedIn chief executive officer Jeff Weiner pointed out that LinkedIn has been integrated into the Microsoft Outlook email service. Through the email platform, he could access LinkedIn profile information from within the messages sent between them.

“It’s a really powerful way to just stay in touch and to just understand who’s reaching out and what they’re up to,” said Weiner via CNBC.

Some of the integration ideas still in the pipeline include an “Intelligent Newsfeed,” which would draw information from Office apps as a way for managers to understand what projects employees are working on.

One of the biggest reasons why Microsoft is taking its time on pushing integrations is to avoid making mistakes. LinkedIn is Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date so it has to move with caution.

Microsoft wants to avoid making integration mistakes that it made in the past. In 2012, Microsoft had written off the $6.2 billion acquisition of digital ad company aQuantive. And Microsoft also saw a quarterly loss in 2015 due to $8.3 billion in charges related to the restructuring of its phone hardware operations following the $9.5 billion acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business.

Both of the deals were signed by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. But Nadella is one of the executives who pushed for the aQuantive deal. While speaking about the LinkedIn deal, Nadella acknowledged that the company will “learn from the past.”

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood pointed out that one of the goals of the LinkedIn acquisition was to accelerate the growth of the professional social network along with Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

And LinkedIn would be able to operate independently with Weiner as the head of the company. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman was added to the Microsoft board of directors and Weiner reports directly to Nadella.

“Satya has made good on every single thing we talked about prior to the acquisition,” added Weiner in the CNBC interview.

LinkedIn now has 660 million users, which is up 52% since Microsoft acquired the company. And LinkedIn contributed $6.75 billion to Microsoft’s 2019 fiscal year revenue.

Weiner said that LinkedIn’s performance is ahead of plan for the past three years. Under Microsoft, the company was able to focus on longer-term plans rather than the quarter-to-quarter performance as a public company.

“At the time of the close and shortly thereafter, at least for the first couple of quarters, our growth continued to decelerate. It was a couple of quarters later that it started to stabilize. And then it started to meaningfully accelerate,” Weiner told CNBC. “So, if we were still public and there was that deceleration, what kind of response would we have seen from the Street? How would that have impacted the company? How would that have impacted our talent? It’s hard to say. But — didn’t happen, so don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.”