A look at Linkedin’s acquisition strategy


The big news in tech yesterday was Linkedin’s acquisition of Lynda.com for $1.5B. This is by far their largest acquisition to date. So, I thought it might be useful to dig into Linkedin’s acquisition activity to date to see what we can learn.

To date, Linkedin has made 15 acquisitions. Here’s how they look by year, size and geography (all data from pitchbook.com).

As you can see below, Linkedin has had a consistent pace of doing 2 -3 deals per year. Over 1/2 of them had no disclosed value or were sub $10M (we can assume all the undisclosed ones were small too). The notable bigger acquisitions include:

  • Slideshare: $119M
  • Bright.com: $120M
  • Bizo: $175M

The most telling thing is where they are buying. All but two of their deals have been in the San Francisco/ Silicon Valley corridor. So, other than a few outliers, most deals have been modest team/ technology buys.

Looking ahead

While their acquisition program has been modest to date, I see lots of potential for Linkedin to become a bigger acquirer. Their $32B market cap, multi-facted business model and dominant presence in the lives of professionals and recruiters give them a strong platform from which to expand.

I still believe that they will continue to do lots of small deals that can get folded in to the core. But they have the size to continue to do select larger deals. In all cases those larger deals have been left to run stand alone with content integrated to Linkedin.


by year

By size

By location

  • Corby Fine

    I think the Bizo acquisition is the big one – the differentiator that will give them a platform from which to substantially grow their marketing solutions business. Moving into actual lead generation tied to their incredible data assets…watch out!

    • http://startupcfo.ca/ Mark MacLeod

      That’s their 2nd largest deal at $175M. Look forward to seeing what they do with it.

      • Corby Fine

        Sadly – NOTHING

  • http://mercurygrove.com Mike Mason

    Mark, what do you think of the refresh.io acquisition and the “anticipatory computing space”?

    • http://startupcfo.ca/ Mark MacLeod

      Feels like another inevitable layer in the experience that we will soon take for granted in all apps.