NEW YORK (AA) – Microsoft announced Monday that it will buy professional social network service firm LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.
Microsoft will pay $196 per share and the social network firm will retain its "distinct brand, culture and independence", according to a statement by Microsoft.
LinkedIn's stock soared nearly 48 percent, from $131 to $194 per share, after the opening bell at the U.S. stock market. Meanwhile, Microsoft lost around 3.3 percent.
With the agreement, Jeff Weiner will remain as the CEO of LinkedIn but will report to Satya Nadella, the head of Microsoft, the statement said.
"The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. "Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn ... as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet."
The number of LinkedIn members has grown 19 percent year over year to reach more than 433 million worldwide, according to the statement.
“For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful," Weiner said. "Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works."
The deal is expected to close this year, and could help Microsoft's balance sheet in the long-run.
During the first three months of 2016, the tech giant’s net income fell 25 percent to $3.76 billion. Revenues declined 5 percent to $20.53 billion, compared to the same period a year ago.