LinkedIn has announced its biggest acquisition to date, for online learning service Lynda.com for $1.5 billion (£1.01 billion). The company looks to expand the online workforce and allow potential employees to fill in skill gaps without leaving the social network for business.
It is a rather large acquisition, split 52 per cent in cash payout and 48 per cent in stock. LinkedIn expects the acquisition to close the second quarter, with most of Lynda.com’s workforce moving over while keeping the learning resource active.
In the short term, LinkedIn will let Lynda.com continue to run and offer courses. It has been an invaluable tool for many since opening in 1995, when online learning was not as advanced or as valued as it is in today’s world.
Long term, we expect to see LinkedIn start offering courses and tests from Lynda.com as part of portfolio buildup. Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn wants every single person on the service, not only people but businesses, educational centers, not-for-profits and anywhere else connected to education, portfolio and business.
"The mission of LinkedIn and the mission of lynda.com are highly aligned. Both companies seek to help professionals be better at what they do," said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. "lynda.com's extensive library of premium video content helps empower people to develop the skills needed to accelerate their careers. 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."
Having the tools to take courses, tests and brush up on skills will be massively important for LinkedIn, and potentially a new source of revenue. If a client wants Photoshop experience from a website designer, instead of declining all offers the contractor can learn Photoshop through Lynda.com without leaving LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is currently the largest online job seeking and freelancing service. It has hundreds of millions of users and hundreds of thousands of employers. If it can connect other services like portfolio management, online learning and perhaps even payments services into the social network, it could become an invaluable tool for people working online.