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LinkedIn to acquire online education veteran Lynda.com for $1.5B

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Business networking giant LinkedIn will be buying online tutorials and training platform Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, reports VentureBeat. The acquisition is expected to close by Q2 this year and is a combination of ~52% cash and ~48% stock. Most of Lynda’s team members are expected to join LinkedIn with the latter’s belief that that Lynda.com will help both its users and professionals to accelerate their careers.

Job seekers, meet skills providers

The LinkedIn blog post announcement goes on to offer use cases for the integration: Lynda’s library of premium video content across professional topics and languages, job seekers on LinkedIn would be able to sign up for/be prompted to get accredited on needed skills at jobs through Lynda, looking on a search on SlideShare on a particular topic and then be prompted to look up a course on the same topic on Lynda.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, said in his blog post that “Through its singular focus on programming and content quality, we concluded that lynda.com had developed the best approach for LinkedIn in the industry…. Both companies believe strongly that the growing skills gap is one of the biggest challenges to the future of the global economy.”

LinkedIn’s previous acquisitions

This is LinkedIn’s largest acquisition to date; it paid $175 million for Bizo last year in addition to Bright for $120 million, while acquiring Pulse for $90 million in 2013 and SlideShare for $119 million in 2012. Last week, LinkedIn acquired a startup called Refresh, which offers information about the people you’re meeting in a professional setup. The company did not disclose the deal value; however, this appears to be an acqui-hire with 12 of Refresh’s current team of 15 expected to join LinkedIn.

LinkedIn was started by Reid Hoffman and founding members including Allen blue, Konstantin Guericke, Jean-Luc Vaillant and Eric Ly from PayPal and Socialnet.com in 2002. It supports 20 languages and claims to have over 300 million members globally.

California headquartered Lynda.com was founded by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin in 1995. The company began with publishing a book on how to design websites and became profitable two years later. It went to establish itself as a web resource in 2002. On Lynda, through a subscription based model, orgs and individuals can access courses by industry experts in English, German, Spanish, Japanese and French. It also serves corporate, government and educational orgs through various arms like lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro among others.

It has offices in San Francisco, London, Graz and Sydney and is funded by Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity, Meritech Capital Partners and TPG Capital. In January this year, Lynda raised funding worth $186 million in Series B led by TPG Capital and participation from its existing investors. Before that, in 2013, it raised $103 million in Series A from Accel Partners, Meritech Capital Partners and Spectrum Equity.

Image Credit: Flickr user Scott Beale

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