LinkedIn, the biggest professional social network in the world, announced it reached an agreement to buy lynda.com, an online learning company for $1.5 billion that will be paid about 52% in cash and about 48% in stock. For LinkedIn it’s by far the largest acquisition made in its 12-year history.
Lynda.com was founded in 1995 in a project that began as a support for Lynda Weinman’s lessons in her job as a multimedia teacher. In 2002, together with her husband and co-founder Bruce Heaving she started offering online courses. The company’s business has expanded over the years and in 2008 it also started making documentaries about creative leaders, artists and entrepreneurs.
The value of lynda.com is witnessed by the fact that in recent years received nearly $300 million from various investors. It’s a company that has become international with over 500 employees in various nations. Through video2brain, a provider of online courses acquired in 2013, it also offers courses in German, French and Spanish.
For LinkedIn, the declared idea is to integrate lynda.com’s skills with the social network’s. Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s head of content, in a blog gave the example of a person who is looking for work with the possibility to know what skills are needed for the jobs available in the desired city. Being informed about the courses available to obtain such skills could be a good help.
In another blog, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner defined lynda.com as a collection of high-quality content focused on professional skills. There are hundreds of thousands of videos and whole courses that make it possible for anyone to acquire the skills needed to get their first job, a promotion or close a business deal.
It’s clear that for LinkedIn’s managers lynda.com’s mission combines very well with the social network’s. First of all, LinkedIn users who already frequent it to find work, will be enticed to buy lynda.com’s services to improve their skills. We’re talking about a social network with more than 300 million users.
Video contents are proving more and more important on the Internet, as demonstrated by the recent efforts by Facebook and Twitter to enhance their management. For LinkedIn, integrating videos from lynda.com into the social network means giving its users another reason to frequent it.
In recent years, Internet’s trend concerned anything that was social and mobile. Now a new trend seems to have been emerged related to videos. Of course, the reasons for LinkedIn’s acquisition of lynda.com make a lot of sens sense but I can’t help thinking that it has spent $1.5 billion also to get and advantage with regard to a trend that could become even more important.