The news reader service Pulse has just announced (and LinkedIn has confirmed) that last month's rumors were true. The world's largest professional social network has just acquired a news reading service in what appears to be one of the more unlikely business deals of the year.
But is it unlikely?
LinkedIn has been working for some time now to move beyond simply a collection of profiles, user groups, and company pages. I don't know about you, but I have been seeing more and more emails from LinkedIn in which they're pitching an article by some key thinker. And even without those emails, I have heard from several users that report that they find LinkedIn to be a good source of industry news.
With that in mind, LinkedIn's statement about the acquisition begins to make a lot of sense:
We believe LinkedIn can be the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content. Millions of professionals are already starting their day on LinkedIn to glean the professional insights and knowledge they need to make them great at their jobs. We believe we can help all professionals make smarter and more informed business decisions leveraging all the great business knowledge flowing through LinkedIn in the form of news, Influencer posts, industry updates, discussions, comments and more.
LinkedIn currently has over 200 million users, and claims 155 million active users each month. Pulse has 30 million users spread across 190 countries that read content from over 750 publishers. The deal is reportedly worth $90 million in stock and cash, and the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.
As of yet there are no definitive plans to for the existing Pulse service and apps, though they will not be going away right this minute.