Simpson Thacher and Wilson Sonsini advise as Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26.2bn

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are taking the lead on Microsoft’s $26.2bn (£18.4bn) acquisition of professional network LinkedIn, which was announced today.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network, with more than 433 million users worldwide.

Under the terms of the deal, which is expected to close this year, Microsoft will pay $196 (£137) per share.

Simpson Thacher is acting for longstanding client Microsoft, with a team led by New York corporate partners Alan Klein and Anthony Vernace.

Other partners on the deal include New York employment partner Gregory Grogan, Palo Alto finance partner Bill Brentani, New York IP partner Lori Lesser, New York tax partner Jonathan Goldstein and New York derivatives partner Joyce Xu.

Wilson Sonsini is advising LinkedIn. It is fielding a Palo Alto-based team led by corporate partners Martin Korman, Bradley Finkelstein, Katharine Martin and Douglas Schnell.

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial adviser to Microsoft, while LinkedIn is being advised by investment banks Qatalyst Partners and Allen & Company.

Simpson Thacher has acted for Microsoft on numerous deals including its 2013 acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone business for €5.44bn (£4.6bn).

On that deal Klein took the lead role, supported by capital markets partner Brentani, employment partner Grogan and IP partner Lesser. 

Wilson Sonsini has had a long relationship with LinkedIn, acting on its initial public offering in 2011 and a secondary offering in 2013.

Palo Alto corporate partners Martin and Lisa Stimmel advised LinkedIn on both of those deals.