In multiple official releases on Thursday, LinkedIn’s team announced that it has acquired online education portal Lynda in a massive $1.5 billion deal in approximately 52% cash and approximately 48% stock.
Lynda, which started back in 1995 started getting traction as an online learning portal in 2013, competing with Coursera and the likes. It provides paid online video tutorials on a number of different subjects for technological and business skills development. While some synergies between the two businesses are seemingly obvious owing to the same target audience, there are more reasons why LinkedIn has shelled out so much money to acquire an eLearning portal.
The Economic Graph
Both the companies are essentially growing big because of the need of professionals around the world to have resources that can add to their career growth, be it networking or learning. “Today’s announcement that LinkedIn intends to acquire lynda.com allows us to take a meaningful step forward in building the Economic Graph,” wrote Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s Head of content products.
For those who don’t know, the Economic Graph is LinkedIn’s long term vision of digitally mapping the global economy, comprising of a profile for every professional, company, job opportunity, the skills required to obtain those opportunities, every higher education organization, and all the professionally relevant knowledge associated with each of these entities, to connect talent with opportunity at massive scale. With just 300 million users on its platform, the vision is still a distant possibility.
Lynda is being used by professionals who are looking to develop specific identified skills, now with this deal LinkedIn can aim to become a single stop for everything a professional needs from skill development to showcasing those skills to land at a desired organisation he can use his skills at.
LinkedIn’s Need to Evolve
Even though LinkedIn started and continues to be popularly called as the professional network, the social network only model didn’t seem to work out so well as a stand alone offering to the users. Professional networking happens on other ‘not so professional’ social networks like Facebook and Twitter as well, where the communication channels are more open. LinkedIn needed to offer something more to differentiate itself, acquisition of Pulse was one such move by it. Beyond networking it started pushing relevant content that was useful to those on its platform.
Also, one of its major offerings is the jobs connect. While it might not be perceived as a hiring portal, it is certainly being used by companies to seek and hire talent, and also for job seekers to find roles matching their skill set. Here again, Lynda comes into the picture with its capabilities to teach people what they want to learn to get the job they want.
Aligned Social Missions
” Both companies believe strongly that the growing skills gap is one of the biggest challenges to the future of the global economy. We also believe passionately that education without economic opportunity is not enough; neither is access to opportunity without the ability to acquire education and skills.” says Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn.
“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.” says Lynda Weinman, Co-Founder, Lynda.
While it can’t be said at the moment whether if this acquisition will accelerate LinkedIn’s progress in attaining its goals to be ‘The One’ place online for the professionals but it could surely help the company amplify its product and content offerings to attract more users to its platform.