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  1. What Is
June 15, 2016updated 16 Feb 2017 3:15pm

What is LinkedIn?

Microsoft has agreed to spend $26.2 billion on this social media network - but what exactly are they buying?

By Ellie Burns

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a social networking service aimed at business professionals.

Mainly used for professional networking, the site claims to have more than 433 million users, with more than 105 million users active each month.

LinkedIn allows users, generally workers and employers, to create profiles and connect with each other – thereby creating an online social network which mirrors real-life professional relationships.

Sitting at the core of LinkedIn is a user’s ‘connections’, which can be used in a number of ways from finding jobs to obtaining connections of connections thereby expanding their professional network. Employers can also use LinkedIn to recruit and post jobs, as well as allowing users to ‘like’, ‘share’ and comment on status updates such as promotions and new employment.

LinkedIn also allows users to expand their professional network with people outside their immediate sector or market – through groups and connecting, users can communicate with professionals from over 200 countries and territories. There are over a million groups on LinkedIn in which users can connect. While the majority are employment related, there a large number of common-interest groups which users can also contribute to. Some groups are private and users must request to join, whereas others are public and users can join and start commenting immediately.


Who bought LinkedIn for $26.2bn?

LinkedIn has added a number of features as it has evolved as a social media platform. LinkedIn influencers was launched in October 2012, bringing together the world’s top leaders to share insights with members, while 2012 also saw the launch of the ability to endorse other members’ skills. Other services added to the platform include the publishing tool for article posts, which was further improved upon in 2015 with the introduction of an analytics tool.

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what is linkedin

Headquartered in the United States, LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and other individuals from companies such as PayPal and In the early days of the company, funding from venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management saw the company’s valuation hit $1.575 billion in private markets by the end of 2011.

In January 2011, LinkedIn filed an IPO, trading its first shares on May 19 2011 under the ‘LNKD’ symbol on the NYSE. Shares soared 171% on the first day of trading and closed 109% above the IPO price.

On June 13, 2016, it was announced that Microsoft would be buying LinkedIn in an all-cash acquisition for $26.2 billion – marking Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date.

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