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How LinkedIn Is Working for Microsoft

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) acquisition of LinkedIn was the biggest acquisition of all time, clocking in at a whopping $26 billion.

In this segment from Industry Focus: Tech, host Dylan Lewis and Motley Fool contributor Evan Niu explain how LinkedIn is fitting into Microsoft's strategy today and how such a massive acquisition seems to have been the right move to make.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Nov. 3, 2017.

Dylan Lewis: One of the things that I wanted to hit, too, with this earnings release was the update that we got on LinkedIn. Just as a reminder, Microsoft bought the professional social media platform for $26 billion in 2016. Management mentioned that LinkedIn is contributing positively to EPS, which is something, frankly, I was a little bit surprised to see. That's, of course, ex-purchase accounting. But, it does seem like the platform seems to be doing pretty well. It just had its fourth consecutive quarter of over 50% sessions growth, 65% year over year growth in jobs. So, there's clearly some engagement happening there. It's clearly a place that people are going. And we are starting to see a little bit more on the integration side with Microsoft products.

Evan Niu: Yeah. This is going to be exactly what they outlined in their vision when they bought LinkedIn, which was the biggest acquisition ever, by a lot. Right now, there are about 530 million LinkedIn members. And yeah, they really helped to grow this Dynamics 365 business. If you remember before they bought LinkedIn, LinkedIn was talking a whole lot about this new sales navigator product, this whole idea of social selling. And I think, they had this vision for it, and then Microsoft buys them and now they're integrating this idea of really being able to leverage your social and professional contacts for sales people to grow their businesses. And that's where Dynamics 365 comes in.

Lewis: I'll admit, I was a little bit of a skeptic when I saw this acquisition, the purchase price and the premium that was being paid for it. I'm generally wary of huge acquisitions, especially in the tech space, because you always hear about these integrations or efficiencies that are going to be gained, all these cost-cutting measures that can be realized.

Niu: And especially for Microsoft, too. Bad track record.

Lewis: Especially for Microsoft. But when you're dropping $26 billion on something, that can be a lot of goodwill to carry, and that can be kind of dangerous as a business. It's nice to see that this seems to be working out for them.

Niu: Yeah. They have this horrible track record. But, again, I think it comes back to all of those terrible acquisitions they bought over the years were mostly Ballmer, and now they have Nadella in charge with a much stronger vision and ability to execute. LinkedIn, the big thing is going to be the data. The data that LinkedIn has can really jump start a lot of these areas that Microsoft wants to get into, or can continue expanding into. But, yeah, it's kind of crazy how much they spend. But for now, considering the numbers they're putting up and the way they're really being able to integrate it, I'm willing to give Nadella the benefit of the doubt here, because he's really proving himself in a lot of ways, including LinkedIn.

Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Dylan Lewis has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.