LinkedIn is paying $1.5 billion for the online education site Lynda.com

You could be learning right now.
You could be learning right now.
Image: AP Photo/Noah Berger
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LinkedIn wants to do more than help you make the right work connections. You may soon find the professional networking site is bugging you to fill your skill gaps with one of its nifty new online courses.

The company just announced the acquisition of Lynda.com, one of the largest and oldest Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers. Lynda.com focuses on skills-based learning, with pre-recorded video courses and tutorials ranging from programming to photo-editing to classroom management.

LinkedIn will spend $1.5 billion on the acquisition, according to the press release. It’s not hard to see why: In January, Lynda.com finished the largest funding round of any education company since at least 2009, bringing in $186 million to spend on its own acquisitions. The company has been profitable since 2008 and collected more than $150 million in revenue last year, spokeswoman Liz Scanlon told Quartz via email in January.

It makes sense for LinkedIn to acquire a MOOC provider, especially one as ubiquitous as Lynda.com, which was founded 20 years ago and has its arms in the education markets for both individuals and enterprise. Currently, a $25-$40 monthly fee is an all-access pass to more than 3,400 courses.

Lynda.com does not release information on users, but LinkedIn spokesman Hani Durzy tells Quartz that about a third of its revenue comes from enterprise—companies using the courses for employee training, or college professors assigning courses to students. These enterprise customers include 30% of US colleges and universities, including all of the Ivy League, Scanlon told Quartz via email in January, as well as “half of the Fortune 50 companies, including Microsoft, Verizon and Proctor and Gamble.”

LinkedIn will rely on current college students and recent graduates for its continued long-term success, so Lynda.com’s presence on college campuses was a selling point, Durzy tells Quartz.

For now, Lynda.com will continue to operate on a different site than LinkedIn, he said. Down the line, a Lynda.com subscription might be incorporated into a premium LinkedIn membership. And once you’ve completed a tutorial, a badge might proclaim your new skill on your LinkedIn page.