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US firms Simpson Thacher and Wilson Sonsini connect for Microsoft’s $26.2bn LinkedIn purchase

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati have advised on Microsoft’s acquisition of professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2bn.

The deal, confirmed today (13 June), represents one of the largest in Microsoft’s history. Following its announcement this afternoon, LinkedIn’s share price was boosted by around 50%. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $196 per share. The tech firm said LinkedIn’s chief executive Jeff Weiner would remain in his position, reporting to Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft.

Leading advisers for Microsoft were Simpson Thacher’s co-head of M&A Alan Kline and partner Anthony Vernace.

Other partners on the deal included employment partner Gregory Grogan, IP partner Lori Lesser, tax partner Jonathan and Goldstein derivatives partner Joyce Xu, who are all based in New York. Finance partner Bill Brentani also advised out of Palo Alto.

Kline has represented Microsoft on three marquee deals, its $7.2bn purchase of Nokia’s phone business in 2013, its $8.5bn acquisition of video calling service Skype in 2011 and its investment in Barnes & Noble’s Nook business back in 2012.

Wilson Sonsini’s team acting for LinkedIn included M&A head Martin Korman alongside partners Brad Finkelstein, Katharine Martin and Doug Schnell.

The Wilson Sonsini’s team also included partners Selwyn Goldbery and TJ Graham on technology, partners John Aguirre and Scott McCall on employee benefits, and partners Elizabeth Pterson and Boris Feldman on litigation who provided litigation advice. Further Wilson Sonsini partners also provided advice on regulatory, tax, data protection, real estate, finance and governance aspects of the transaction.

Wilson Sonsini acted for the networking site in 2014 when it entered an agreement to buy marketing firm Bizo for $175m, and also in July of that year when LinkedIn purchased Newsle, a social media alerts service for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft was previously advised by Linklaters on its $2.5bn deal for the online video game Minecraft in 2014.