LinkedIn Thursday announced a deal to buy lynda.com, an online learning company that teaches business, technology, and creative skills to help people achieve professional goals, as part of its effort to continue expanding beyond its core professional networking platform.
The company said in a press release that it will pay roughly $1.5 billion in cash and newly issued stock for lynda.com, founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. In addition to individual subscribers, lynda.com serves corporate, government, and educational organizations through its lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro, lyndaCampus, lyndaLibrary, and lyndaKiosk products.
LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner said the two companies’ missions are highly aligned. “lynda.com’s extensive library of premium video content helps empower people to develop the skills needed to accelerate their careers,” Weiner said in the release. “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.”
LinkedIn is trying to get more people to log onto its site on a regular basis, because the company earns most of its revenue from subscriptions to its premium services and advertising on its site, according to a New York Times/Deal Book article Thursday. Since 2012, thought leaders such as Virgin Group’s Richard Branson have been writing original content for the site, and users can also now blog on the site.
“But e-learning and professional development services is an entirely new category for the company, and LinkedIn hopes it will be another way it can lure users back to using its site every week or even every day,” the NYT wrote.