Microsoft has entered into a multibillion-dollar deal to purchase LinkedIn, the largest ever contract for the tech giant.

(TNN) — Microsoft has announced its plans to purchase LinkedIn in an effort to strengthen Microsoft’s hold over the productivity market. According to sources at Bloomberg, the merger will cost the tech giant $26.2 billion, securing its spot as the company’s biggest business deal in history. At $196 per share, Microsoft’s hefty payout will earn it 49.5% of LinkedIn’s available shares. Microsoft hopes to start gaining some of this back right away, expressing plans to hurry along the monetization of LinkedIn by bolstering subscriptions and targeted advertising. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, commented on the acquisition, saying, “LinkedIn and Microsoft really share a mission [and] there is no better way to realize that mission than to connect the world’s professionals.” Both companies have confirmed that the deal is expected to close by the end of 2016.

Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn is only the most recent of the company’s efforts to expand its reach. In June, the company announced that it had sold 1,500 of its patents to Chinese mobile smartphone maker Xiaomi. This partnership was struck in exchange for Xiaomi’s inclusion of Microsoft software on its devices. For Microsoft, this meant an influx of new, young, tech-savy users who would be introduced to its brand.

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