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Moody's reviews Microsoft's 'AAA' rating for downgrade following LinkedIn deal

Microsoft's $26.2 billion takeover deal for LinkedIn will finally allow the social platform to compete with other tech titans, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner told CNBC on Monday.

"It takes our scale to a completely different level," Weiner said on "Squawk Alley" hours after the announcement. "The combination of our two companies, having Microsoft behind us, just enables us to realize the things we always dreamed of doing, and so we're excited about it."

Moody's Investors Service placed Microsoft's "AAA" rating under review for downgrade following the deal announcement. Standard & Poor's though, reaffirmed its "AAA" rating, and said it maintains all other ratings and a "stable outlook" on the company.

The acquisition would allow LinkedIn to create a social fabric that can be "seamlessly integrated" with other areas of Microsoft, like Outlook calendar, he said. The companies started talking about a deal in February, after Weiner said he noticed a clear pattern among tech giants' earnings.

"You look at Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, and within the span of a few days after their earnings reports, collectively those companies increased their market capitalization within somewhere of $100 billion," Weiner said. "It used to be that scale was hundreds of millions of users and billions of dollars of market cap. Today it's billions of users or customers and hundreds of billions of dollars of market cap."

LinkedIn will fit into Microsoft's cloud by bolstering Office 365, helping connect the world's professionals and make them more productive, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.

"These professionals are using Office 365 on one side, and LinkedIn on the other side," Nadella told CNBC. "That's one massive opportunity for us to increase engagement in both."

Nadella pointed to a potential for Microsoft Outlook users to integrate LinkedIn information. The news feed on LinkedIn for example, might now include what projects someone is working on, and what their Outlook calendar looks like for the next two weeks.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner.
Source: Linkedin
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner.

"Think about how you can bring AI to improve the relevance of that feed, that's what excited us and the mission," he said. "It's about putting them together with the crown jewels of Microsoft, which is Office 365 and the cloud."

The CEOs met a few years ago at a Microsoft CEO event but began shopping the deal in early 2016, Nadella said.

"Jeff and I started talking in February about what's that next phase," Nadella said. "Can we truly take today what is a fragmented work environment for professionals and complete the scenarios more tastefully with better relevance?"

Weiner will stay on as CEO of LinkedIn and will report to Nadella. The deal was unanimously approved by both companies' boards, and is expected to close by the end of the year. The acquisition is still subject to approval by LinkedIn shareholders and regulators.

LinkedIn will still operate as an individual entity, much in the way that Google's YouTube and Facebook's WhatsApp and Instagram were able to after their acquisitions by the two giants.

"[They] have all gone on to extraordinary success and impact on a global basis following their acquisitions," Weiner said. "It was that combination of alignment on sense of purpose and structure that we both got really excited about."

Shares of LinkedIn surged 46 percent Monday to near $193, while Microsoft's stock was down 2.6 percent. Trading in Microsoft had been halted briefly for news pending before the announcement of the deal.