Back when he was in college, Ryan Roslansky prepared to launch his first online business, but he had no clue how to design a website. To get up to speed quick, he read one of Lynda Weinman’s crash-course web design books and it worked.
Now, nearly 20 years later and in a full-circle moment, Roslanksy, LinkedIn’s head of content, announced today that LinkedIn is acquiring Wienman’s popular online career skills education company, Lynda.com.
The forthcoming acquisition is valued at an estimated $1.5 billion, and would constitute LinkedIn’s largest deal to date, according to The Wall Street Journal. The transaction, expected to close some time this quarter, will be paid out in approximately 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock. LinkedIn’s second largest acquisition occurred last July, when it scooped up Bizo, a B2B marketing platform provider, for approximately $175 million.
“The fact that I had to take a crash course to acquire a new professional skill is not unique to me,” Roslansky wrote in LinkedIn blog post heralding the pairing. “Millions of professionals around the world are in a constant state of learning to achieve their professional goals every day.” And LinkedIn wants in on the cash they pay to up their professional game.
"The mission of LinkedIn and the mission of lynda.com are highly aligned,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement issued by the two firms. “Both companies seek to help professionals be better at what they do. 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."
Also according to the joint statement, “most” of Lynda.com’s employees will move to LinkedIn’s Mountain View, Calif., offices. Those who transition to the 347 million member professional social network will join the content team Roslansky leads, he said.
LinkedIn did not immediately respond to a request for additional details on the deal.
Lynda.com was founded in 1995 by self-taught computer expert Lynda Weinman and freelance illustrator Bruce Heavin. The company offers “all you can eat” online training library stocked with more than 9,000 premium videos by industry experts that teach software, technology, design and business skills to millions of individual, corporate, academic and government paying subscribers the world over. Tutorials, which cover everything from how to make a strong case for a promotion to how to shoot GoPro footage from a motorcycle, are delivered in English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese.
Headquartered in Carpinteria, Calif., Lynda.com also has offices in London, San Francisco, Sydney and in Graz, Austria. In the past two years, the company has amassed a total of $289 million in venture capital. Last January, TPG Capital led a $186 million Series B round, which Bloomberg reported was the largest single investment in an education-technology company since 2010. Lynda.com’s Series A round, back in January of 2013, landed the firm $103 million.