Why LinkedIn makes sense under News Corp

Bambi Francisco Roizen · November 25, 2007 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/b0

If News Corp buys LinkedIn, it will be a clever purchase. That is, of course, if the price is right, and if the rumour has any legs. LinkedIn, whose last valuation was set to the tune of $250 million, is rumoured to be in discussions with News Corp, the media giant that swallowed Dow Jones, my former employer. The rumour's origin is TechCrunch UK.

Now, I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon and spread false rumours. But this one intrigued me, mostly because while at MarketWatch, I was a big proponent of Dow Jones buying a social network, or at least creating one. I also believe that social networks are not only great platforms for content generation, the content is often better, more relevant and more accurate. Just take a look at LinkedIn's Q&A section. Sure, the answers don't have the same polish as the edited pieces over at The Wall Street Journal or MarketWatch. But I'm certain many of the posts are more credible than some of the content written by paid journalists these days.

Secondly, LinkedIn, and many social networks, attract a huge and growing audience base, largely because people (in the social network era) are increasingly more interested in their own soap opera lives (and their friends' soap operas) than the entertainment created by professionals. (Just look at all the reality shows! But that's another story.) In the case of LinkedIn, the content is mainly business information, such as resumes, job postings, and a professional grid of connections. While the content isn't tabloid newsy like it is on Facebook ("Jill is now single" or "Bob is engaged"), the content is nonetheless monetizable. In fact, LinkedIn's founder and former CEO Reid Hoffman said last year that LinkedIn expects to generate $100 million in revenue in 2008. I'm not privvy to how that revenue breaks down today, but it's probably pretty similar to the breakdown I got last year. At the time, of a piece I had written, titled LinkedIn gets down to business, I noted that LinkedIn made money through three revenue lines, sponsorships, subscriptions, and job listings. About 45% of the revenue came from annual subscription fees between $10,000 and $100,000. Companies, such as Microsoft, would pay this subscription to get access to LinkedIn's database to find potential hires.

This type of offering is exactly the kind Dow Jones can extend to its clients. There are lots of synergies here. Rupert Murdoch saw the value of social network MySpace well before  most. Maybe he sees value in a business network too. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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