Two days after Microsoft Corporation's (MSFT) $26.2 billion blockbuster deal for LinkedIn Corporation (LNKD) was approved by EU regulators, the deal, announced six months ago, officially closed.

"Today is an exciting day, one I’ve been looking forward to since June," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a blog post Thursday. "It marks the close of the agreement for Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn and the beginning of our journey to bring together the world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network."

Nadella referred to LinkedIn as "our Instagram," referring to the popular photo-sharing app acquired by Facebook, Inc's (FB) in 2012 for $1 billion. Instagram, which is now worth an estimated $50 billion today, is broadly regarded as one of the best deals of all time. Much of Instagram's increased value, however, was driven by Facebook's ability to successfully integrate and grow Instagram in a manner that promotes high user engagement and more importantly, advertising revenue. (See also: How Instagram Makes Money)

Can Microsoft, which is now free to execute its integration plan, do the same for LinkedIn? "As our two companies’ leadership teams have spent time together these last few months, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of and appreciation for LinkedIn’s relentless focus on its members," said Nadella. To that end, the company outlined the key areas of integration it will focus on first:

  • LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
  • LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action center
  • Enabling members drafting résumés in Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn
  • Extending the reach of Sponsored Content across Microsoft properties
  • Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
  • LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem
  • Developing a business news desk across our content ecosystem and
  • Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365

"On behalf of the entire Microsoft team, I want to extend a warm welcome to every LinkedIn employee to Microsoft," Nadella concluded. Microsoft has also welcomed the hardest part of the deal : Making it work. (See also: LinkedIn A Longtime Target of Microsoft?)

Microsoft stock close Thursday at $61.01, down 0.59%. The shares have risen 9.97% year to date, compared with a 9.90% rise in the S&P 500 (SPX) index.

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