LinkedIn announced that it plans to acquire Lynda.com, an online learning platform, for approximately $1.5 billion. The purchase will be made with roughly 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock. Most employees of lynda.com will join the team at LinkedIn following the completion of the acquisition, slated for the second quarter of 2015.
LinkedIn and Lynda.com share a vision for connecting people with the opportunities that they need to advance their careers. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote that, through a series of meetings, it became apparent that:
Both companies believe strongly that the growing skills gap is one of the biggest challenges to the future of the global economy. We also believe passionately that education without economic opportunity is not enough; neither is access to opportunity without the ability to acquire education and skills.
Lynda.com founder Lynda Weinman talked more about the subject in a post on LinkedIn, as Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s director of content, who learned job-relevant skills himself from Weinman’s first published book.
The two companies see joining forces as an opportunity to complete LinkedIn’s Economic Graph project, an effort to map the global economy to optimize for “connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale.” Though it is not yet clear how LinkedIn will fuse its services with Lynda.com, one main focus will be attracting college students to the platform and helping them get their first job.
Lynda.com is a 20-year veteran in an industry that has seen many recent upstarts join the effort to train a skilled workforce through online tutorials. It has been profitable since year one, as it has always charged for content, something that sets it apart from similar websites like Coursera and Codecademy.
Code schools are another relatively recent addition to the skills acquisition playing field and many students who enroll in immersive, in-person programs have begun learning online. It is not likely that the merger of LinkedIn with Lynda.com will threaten the growth of these institutions.
Co-founder Richard Simms of Tech Talent South, which has campuses across the Southeastern United States, said in an email that,
The education space is going through a major disruption phase and we think any movement like this bodes well for Tech Talent South and other code schools around the country. Lots of folks are beginning to connect the dots and recognize the value of non-traditional alternative education options that are giving people very in-demand skills quickly and at an affordable price.
Jonathan Gardner, vice president of communications at General Assembly agrees:
It shows that the education to employment model we have created has enormous potential, and it will accelerate new thinking about what the ‘degree’ means for students and employers.
General Assembly has a global reach, with 14 locations worldwide, including emerging markets like Hong Kong and Singapore.