Microsoft's CFO explains its M&A strategy: It loves to buy 'communities' like LinkedIn and GitHub

  • Amy Hood talked about the importance of "networked assets."
  • Microsoft has done more than 57 deals since Hood became finance chief.
Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft.
Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images
Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft.

Microsoft has been working from a clear strategy for acquisitions in the past few years if you ask Amy Hood, the company's chief financial officer.

With deals like LinkedIn, Minecraft developer Mojang and most recently GitHub, Microsoft has been one of the largest dealmakers in recent memory.

"For the past five years, we've been incredibly consistent — buy communities, look for networked assets, look for growing markets, and look for where we're a better owner," Hood said Tuesday during a conversation with Fortune senior writer Michal Lev-Ram at the 2018 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California.

LinkedIn connects professionals, Minecraft connects players and GitHub connects developers, Hood said.

"Those types of assets are always interesting and always will be around the world," she said.

Under Microsoft's ownership LinkedIn has grown to 575 million members, up from 433 million when Microsoft announced the $26.2 billion deal in 2016. Meanwhile, GitHub has 28 million developers, and Minecraft has 91 million monthly players.

Microsoft has done more than 57 deals since Hood succeeded Peter Klein as finance chief in 2013, preceding the appointment of Satya Nadella as chief executive in 2014 — and some smaller ones have come with their own communities.

Nadella's Microsoft has bought properties like email app start-up Acompli, storage company Avere Systems, AI start-ups Bonsai and Lobe, education start-up Flipgrid, and the Wunderlist to-do list app developer 6Wunderkinder.

Lev-Ram asked Hood which acquisition she regrets not making, and Hood responded that she doesn't think like that.

"That's not productive in my mind," she said. It's better, she said, to move forward and look for the next deal.