LinkedIn Spends $1.5 Billion on Online Ed Platform Lynda.com
Cash and stock deal expected to close in second quarter.
LinkedIn is acquiring online learning platform Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, the company announced. Terms are almost evenly split between cash (52 percent) and stock (48 percent) and the deal is expected to close this quarter.
Lynda.com launched 20 years ago as a print book business by co-founders Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. It then transitioned to offering online, video-based courses in business, technology and creative skillsets, now claiming a library of 6,300 courses and 267,000 videos available in multiple languages.
For LinkedIn, the acquisition strengthens the second of the platform's main benefits to members. There are the networking features, and then there's the content-oriented strategy designed to improve their knowledge and skills.
"Matching talent and opportunity is a simplified take on the equation," says LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in a blog post about the deal. "Without access to education and the ability to acquire skills, many of these opportunities will remain far out of reach for most people. With today’s announcement that LinkedIn intends to acquire lynda.com, LinkedIn has taken a material step forward toward connecting these dots."
The deal also gives LinkedIn a recurring revenue source, and not just from its 300 million individual members. Lynda.com also has enterprise subscription packages for corporate, non-profit, academic and government organizations.
Individual membership subscriptions currently range from $25 per month for a basic level, to $37.50 per month for a premium package that includes downloadable course files. Basic and premium levels also come in annual billing options.
The online skills development business has been surging lately. Lynda.com itself raised $186 million earlier this year and took a $103 million round, its first, in January 2013. And magazine publishers have been getting in on the action, too. Rodale recently launched Rodale U to provide digital video tutorials across its enthusiast market verticals. Active Interest Media is about to launch its own, called AIM Healthy U.