With $1.5B Lynda.com Acquisition, LinkedIn Lets Users Add Skills

Showcasing your professional skills and making new work connections have always been the core tenets of LinkedIn. Now, with its $1.5 billion acquisition of Lynda.com, LinkedIn believes it is adding a tool that can help its 350 million users build on their resumes, too.

The online video courses and tutorials that Lynda.com offers “make it possible for anybody to easily and effectively acquire a skill needed to get their first job, get a promotion, land a business deal or advance their career,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote in a post on the company website today. “At LinkedIn, we’ve followed lynda.com for a long time, rooted in the conviction that access to high-quality, skills-based learning-and-development content should be available to every LinkedIn member and a fundamental part of our platform.”

Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin founded Lynda.com in 1995. The online company has been focused on teaching business, technology, and creative skills through an index of 6,300 video library courses and 267,000 expert-taught video tutorials. Today’s deal, valued at $1.5 billion, is about 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock, LinkedIn said in a statement.

Lynda.com’s subscription service, which offers videos in multiple languages, was at the forefront of online learning, as Xconomy wrote in a 2013 profile of the company. That was just after the Carpinteria, CA-based business took its first outside investment, $103 million from Accel Partners and Spectrum Equity. It has also received funding from TPG Capital and Meritech Capital Partners.

Lynda.com generated about $150 million in revenue in 2014, with two-thirds coming from consumers and the rest coming from corporations, Stifel analysts wrote in a note published today. The acquisition is a key step for LinkedIn’s goal of making its customers “more productive and successful,” the analysts wrote.

“We think LinkedIn’s acquisition of lynda.com puts it in position to finally make online education a mainstream activity, allowing LinkedIn to potentially capture an outsized portion of this sizable market opportunity,” the analysts wrote. “Developing deeper connections with members could also benefit LinkedIn’s other business lines as professionals spend more time with the platform.”

After the deal closes, which is expected in the second quarter of this year, most of the Lynda.com team will join LinkedIn, the social network said.

“When we were approached by LinkedIn, we instantly recognized that the synergy between the two companies offered a match unlike any other,” Weinman wrote in a post on LinkedIn’s website. “This is a moment in history when people can learn anytime, anywhere, and with no boundaries. We believe in LinkedIn’s future stewardship and vision, and feel that we have found a perfect cultural fit for our mission.”

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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