Raising the Stakes: LinkedIn Acquires lynda.com

linkedin acquires lyndaYesterday, LinkedIn announced its acquisition of lynda.com, an online learning company, for $1.5 billion. This acquisition will allow LinkedIn’s 300 million users to have access to an extensive library of video content to help advance their careers and develop new skills. Not only does it strengthen LinkedIn’s presence in talent acquisition but it also helps the social media giant flex its muscle in other areas of talent management. Current employees will have a tool that promotes learning, career development and engagement.

LinkedIn has been acquiring several providers over the past year, including the employee referral tool, Careerify. So, its decision to continue to expand its suite of products is not surprising. Market consolidation is a reality in the HCM technology market. With nearly half of organizations planning to increase their investment in both learning and talent acquisition technology over the next 12 months, solution providers are looking to gain more customer wins. But the truth is that the majority of these acquisitions do not have a significant impact on the overall market.

LinkedIn’s acquisition of lynda.com is an exception and it stands out from others for a few reasons:

  • Size of the Acquisition: Most HCM acquisitions happen on a much smaller scale. It has been several years since we have seen this large of an investment from a major player. Just to but this in perspective: SAP acquired SuccessFactors for over $3 billion, Oracle acquired Taleo for $1.9 billion and IBM acquired Kenexa for $1.3 billion. Each of these acquisitions significantly reshaped areas of the HCM technology landscape.
  • Empowering the Individual: The most significant way that LinkedIn’s acquisition of lynda can be differentiated from others is that its focus is on the individual. The goal is not to empower employers but rather empower job seekers, freelancers and employees to develop skills and advance their careers. Mollie Lombardi, VP and Principal Analyst of our Workforce Management practice, wrote about both providers in a previous blog: Workforce Technology Freelance Nation.
  • Possible Leader in Learning and Development: Learning and Development is one of the most mature areas of talent management. According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 HCM Trends research, 50% of organizations have had a replacement solution in place. With many of the leading providers acquired over the past decade, it is challenging to identify a leader in this space. lynda.com was one provider that had gained a significant amount of attention over the past few years for its unique approach and extensive library of content. Only time will tell if this acquisition will establish LinkedIn as a leader or open the door for another provider.
  • Reinforces the Belief that Video is King: Video is a key trend that we have been researching over the past few years. The adoption of video learning has exploded. In fact, according to Brandon Hall Group Learning and Development Benchmarking research, 95% of companies use online videos for learning. This acquisition further emphasizes the power of video in helping recruit, develop, engage and retain employees.

Madeline Laurano, VP and Principal Analyst,
Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

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