LinkedIn is the world’s leading and most popular professional social media network and job-finding marketplace.
Everyone looking for a new job or career switch probably already knows about LinkedIn very well.
If you’ve been a lifelong LinkedIn fam and have been using the platform for quite some time, you might wonder who owns LinkedIn.
Well, that’s a legitimate question because before we sat down to research this post, we ourselves were clueless about the ownership of LinkedIn.
But you don’t have to bash your head into the wall.
In this post, we’ll clearly explain who owns LinkedIn, how it got started, and how a huge tech giant acquired it.
This will be a story-packed post, so hold your breath, and let’s jump right in.
Who Owns LinkedIn?
But they have not started the platform.
Microsoft acquired LinkedIn from its original founders and shareholders in December 2016, and since then, they have been operating the company as one of its subsidiaries.
As a part of the acquisition, Microsoft has paid a whopping amount of $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal to purchase 100% of the company from its previous stakeholders.
After Activision Blizzard’s acquisition, LinkedIn is Microsoft’s second-biggest acquisition in history.
However, even after paying this huge sum of money to acquire LinkedIn, this turned out to be a profitable and game-changer deal for Microsoft.
LinkedIn Origin Story
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman along with some other founding members from PayPal and Socialnet.com, Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Lee Hower, Stephen Beitzel, David Eves, Konstantin Guericke, Ian McNish, Yan Pujante, and Chris Saccheri.
This was the exact team that helped build LinkedIn from the ground up and helped it grow beyond expectations.
LinkedIn was not Reid Hoffman’s first startup. Instead, he was a serial entrepreneur and had already helped build and grow many startups for years.
Before LinkedIn, Hoffman also launched a social networking platform called “SocialNet.com” in 1997. The platform was focused on online dating and matching up people with similar interests.
But in 2000, he left SocialNet.com and joined PayPal as chief operating officer.
On May 5, 2003, Hoffman launched the LinkedIn website for the public. By the end of the same year, Sequoia Capital made an investment in the company.
Within a year, LinkedIn reached a million users, and the platform took off.
By 2015, LinkedIn introduced a new feature that allowed companies to post job listings directly and look for potential candidates for job roles. This feature instantly became a hit for the company and completely changed the destiny of LinkedIn.
In April 2007, LinkedIn achieved an insane milestone of 10 million active users on the platform, and exactly after a year, they launched the LinkedIn mobile app.
LinkedIn filed for the IPO in January 2011, and the company first traded on the market at $45 per share value.
And after their IPO became successful, they became aggressive with growth and started acquiring an insane amount of users in the next few years while adding up new features on the platform.
By looking at the huge growth and popularity of LinkedIn among professionals around the globe, Microsoft decided to acquire the company.
But how did they do that?
Let’s find out in the next section.
LinkedIn Acquisition Story
Back in 2016, when Microsoft announced they would acquire LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion, it came in as a shock for many.
After all, $26.2 billion was not a small amount to pay for a professional social networking platform back then.
But Microsoft knew what they were doing and had a clear plan in mind for LinkedIn.
They knew that the acquisition of LinkedIn would turn out to be a massive stroke for Microsoft as, at that moment, they were struggling with the company’s future.
In simple words, Microsoft was a sinking ship, and it needed support to make an even stronger comeback.
After making the LinkedIn acquisition, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadela wrote an internal memo that clearly showed the motive behind their purchase of LinkedIn.
Satya clearly pointed out that LinkedIn is how people find new jobs, sell their skills, network with people, and get their job done. It’s a prominent name in the professional networking space that no one can ignore.
At that time, Microsoft had no social network of its own and had to rely on other external social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to convey its message.
Microsoft saw this as an excellent opportunity to step up their game and take a bet on LinkedIn.
Other than that, at the time of acquisition, LinkedIn had 433 active users on the platform and more than 2 million paid users.
Also, LinkedIn’s targeted audience was the exact kind of audience that Microsoft could get benefit from.
After all these considerations, Microsoft finally closed the deal within six months of its announcement, and LinkedIn became a privately held company under Microsoft Corporation.
The LinkedIn stock was also immediately removed from the NYSE following the closing of the acquisition.
Today, LinkedIn’s founder and ex-CEO Reid Hoffman holds a position on the Microsoft board and is still working with the LinkedIn team to help it become an even better place.
Who is The Current CEO of LinkedIn?
Ryan Roslansky is the current CEO of LinkedIn, and he has been running the company since 2020.
Ryan initially joined the company in 2009 and held many leadership positions within the company throughout his career.
He was responsible for several launches and initiatives, including the influencer program. He was also the one who founded the LinkedIn editorial team that includes 75+ writers and editors.
Ryan also played a crucial role during the $1.5 billion acquisition of Lynda.com (this was the largest acquisition in the history of LinkedIn).
Eventually, Jeff Weiner (Ex-CEO of LinkedIn) named Ryan his replacement as a CEO of LinkedIn on February 5, 2020.
In the fiscal year 2022, LinkedIn reported a revenue of $13.8 billion from its ads and premium subscription business model, while in 2023, LinkedIn surpassed the revenue mark of $15 billion.
LinkedIn’s revenue has seen steady growth after the acquisition of Microsoft, and it has been growing at a rapid pace over the last few years.
Here are the revenue numbers of LinkedIn for the last few years:
- 2017: $2.3 billion
- 2018: $5.3 billion
- 2019: $6.8 billion
- 2020: $8.1 billion
- 2021: $10.3 billion
- 2022: $13.8 billion
LinkedIn had always been a profitable company before the acquisition, except for the $165 million loss they reported in 2015.
However, after the acquisition, Mircosoft stopped reporting the profits to the public, so we won’t be able to say how much profit LinkedIn is generating on the revenue currently.
FAQs Related to LinkedIn
Who is the largest shareholder of LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is 100% owned by Microsoft, and it does not have any individual shareholders. But, whoever owns a piece of Microsoft indirectly owns LinkedIn.
Does Microsoft own LinkedIn?
Yes, Microsoft owns LinkedIn, and they acquired the company in 2016 for $26.2 billion.
Is LinkedIn bought by Facebook?
No, LinkedIn is not bought by Facebook. Microsoft owns it currently.
Does Google own LinkedIn?
No, Google does not own LinkedIn. Microsoft owns it.
How much is LinkedIn worth?
After its acquisition, it’s hard to find out the current value of LinkedIn, but it could be in billions for sure.
Is LinkedIn a profitable company?
LinkedIn was a profitable company before Microsoft acquired it in 2016. After the acquisition, Mircosoft stopped showing the profit numbers to the public. So now, as the profit numbers are confidential, it’s hard to know whether LinkedIn is still profitable or not.
Who owned LinkedIn before Microsoft?
LinkedIn was a publicly traded company before Microsoft acquired it. So whoever invested their money on LinkedIn while it was listed on the stock exchange, owned a piece of it.
When did Microsoft buy LinkedIn?
Microsoft bought LinkedIn on December 6, 2016.
We hope now you clearly know who owns LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is currently owned by Microsoft, and they acquired the company in 2016 for a whopping $26.2 billion.
After Activision Blizzard, LinkedIn is the second-biggest acquisition that Microsoft made in the last couple of years.
Did you know that Microsoft is the current owner of LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments below.
Last Updated on February 6, 2024