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LinkedIn acquires lynda.com for $1.5bn

Professional networking website LinkedIn will acquire online learning company lynda.com, in an estimated US$1.5bn stock and cash deal set to close this summer.

lydia.com offers more than 2,400 courses and video tutorials to paying subscribers.

“When integrated with the hundreds of millions of members and millions of jobs on LinkedIn, lynda.com can change the way in which people connect to opportunity"

The deal – LinkedIn’s biggest acquisition to date – is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015, made through a combination of approximately 52% cash and 48% stock.

The California-based teaching company lynda.com offers online courses and video tutorials in business, technology and creative skills to paying subscribers.

“Both companies believe strongly that the growing skills gap is one of the biggest challenges to the future of the global economy”

“When integrated with the hundreds of millions of members and millions of jobs on LinkedIn, lynda.com can change the way in which people connect to opportunity,” commented LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.

“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,” he elaborated in a blog post.

“Both companies believe strongly that the growing skills gap is one of the biggest challenges to the future of the global economy.”

Founded in 1995, lynda.com has undergone rapid expansion in the last two years, widening its course offerings and the languages in which content is delivered.

It now offers upwards of 5,700 courses and 255,000 video tutorials in English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese.

Over the last decade it has welcomed increasing outside investment, and earlier this year it received $186m from global private investment company TPG and existing investors Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity and Meritech.

Under LinkedIn, the platform’s content growth is expected to be top priority.

A lynda.com spokesperson told The PIE News: “If anything, we anticipate a deeper investment in the areas of content production and building out lynda.com’s great author base as well as accelerating the growth of lynda.com content.”

“We anticipate a deeper investment in the areas of content production and building out lynda.com’s great author base”

However, the subscription model will remain the same and “immediately post close, lynda.com will continue to operate business as usual”, they said.

As well as its individual subscribers, lynda.com caters to corporate, government and educational organisations through its lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro, lyndaCampus, lyndaLibrary and lyndaKiosk products.

These ‘enterprise members’ include more than half of the Fortune 50 companies, 31 state governments, the Executive Office of the President of the United States and cabinet-level departments, including the Department of Defense, and State Department.

The acquisition will also contribute to the building of LinkedIn’s big data project, the Economic Graph, according to Weiner.

Launched last autumn, it aims to create a profile for “every professional, company, job opportunity, the skills required to obtain those opportunities, every higher education organisation and all the professionally relevant knowledge associated with each of these entities”.

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