Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

In a surprise move, Microsoft said Monday that it is buying professional networking service site LinkedIn for about $26.2 billion.

It is by far Microsoft’s largest acquisition – much larger than Skype, which the company bought for $8.5 billion in 2011 .

Microsoft Corp. is paying $196 for each share of LinkedIn Corp., a 50 percent premium over the stock’s closing price of $131.08 Friday.

LinkedIn will remain an independently run unit of Microsoft.

Microsoft is based in Redmond, Washington.

Microsoft shares slipped 3.9 percent to $49.48 per share.