LinkedIn buys online education co. for $1.5B

Steven Loeb · April 9, 2015 · Short URL:

The acquisition will give LinkedIn users more opportunities to hone their professional skills

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LinkedIn has acquired online learning company Lynda,com for $1.5 billion, it was announced on Thursday. The price was a made up of combination of approximately 52 percent cash and approximately 48 percent stock. is an online learning company that helps users learn software, technology, creative and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through subscriptions, members get access to a video library of courses, which are taught by industry experts.

So what does this have to do with LinkedIn? According to CEO Jeff Weiner, he has always been interested in education. And he wants to bring that to LinkedIn members.

"Through programs offered by LinkedIn and my former employers, such as Time Warner and Yahoo!, amazing philanthropic organizations like and the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, and participating on the board of our local elementary school, I've thankfully had the opportunity to stay involved in the world of education ever since graduating college," he wrote in a blog post.

"However, it wasn't until I joined LinkedIn that I realized that education was only one part of the equation, and that an education without access to economic opportunity was incomplete."

LinkedIn's value comes from "connecting people to opportunity," allowing 350 million people to find jobs, he said, but it does beyond just helping people with their careers.

"Without access to education and the ability to acquire skills, many of these opportunities will remain far out of reach for most people," and acquiring means that the company "has taken a material step forward toward connecting these dots."

The two companies share a similar vision of helping workers hone their skills to be better prepared for the workforce, Lynda Weinman, co-founder of, wrote in her own post regarding the acquisition. 

"Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, and I both believe that the skills gap is one of the leading social issues of our time — technology changes fast and people need to keep their skills up to date. We have a shared vision of connecting relevant knowledge to those in need of new or stronger skills, and believe that together we can positively impact the global job market and economy," she wrote.

"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. We are thrilled to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and look forward to helping more people learn the skills that are needed in today’s rapidly changing economic landscape.", was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Carpinteria, California with offices in San Francisco, London, Sydney and Graz.

The company has raised $289 million in funding, including a $186 million round in January that valued it at $1 billion. Investors in the company include Meritech Capital Partners, Spectrum Equity, Accel Partners and TPG.

Going forward, it seems as though will continue to operate independently from LinkedIn. The two companies will work together, though there are no concrete details on what that will look like yet. 

"I look forward to working closely with this incredible team and for what’s to come. In the meantime, you can continue to use’s product as you always have to find the highest quality content and learn new skills," said Ryan Rolanksy, head of content products at LinkedIn, in yet another post

Analysts are already expressing their pleasure with the deal.

"We believe the enterprise segment represents significant opportunity for LNKD as it is newer for Lynda, (it is growing faster than consumer off of a smaller base) and we expect LNKD can achieve cross-sell success & deliver leverage through its larger sales force and the overlap in targeted enterprise customers," JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a note.

"’s content team internally produces its video content and is included in engineering, which represents ~20% of revenue, while sales and marketing currently represents ~35%."

The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015.

LinkedIn acquistiions

This is LinkedIn's third acquisition of 2015, after it purchased recruitment solution Careerify for an undisclosed sum in order to build out its recruitment business in March, and then bought Refresh, a mobile application that delivers an instant dossier about people you meet.

In 2014, LinkedIn's made three acquisitions. In February it bought data insight company Bright for $120 million, and July it purchased Newsle, a web application that allows users to follow real news about their Facebook friends, followed by the acquisition of Bizo, which provides B2B marketers with tools to help them better target for display and direct response ads.

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