LinkedIn buys training site

Will lose its creative focus as it joins the business-focussed social network?

LinkedIn is acquiring online learning company for over £1 billion in cash and stock, the social networking site announced Thursday. is best known for offering pratical tools-based skills training in areas from photography and graphic design to animation and web development – but recently the site has expanded into more general business-focussed professional development from how to negotiate to understanding Google Analytics to improve sales conversions.

Integrating with LinkedIn would allow job seekers to know what skills are required for a position they're interested in and immediately be prompted to take a course in that subject, Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn's head of content, said in a blog post. Further details on whether would be combined with LinkedIn, or if the training site would continue to operate independently weren't provided – nor any details about its focus – but it would make sense for its new owner to push further towards more general business topics to match its wider audience.

For now, remains open to everyone, Roslansky said.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner stuck a similar tone in a blog post explaining the deal, saying that buying will give people looking for work or for career advancement access to the education and skills that will help them achieve those goals. is LinkedIn's largest purchase yet, Weiner said. This is the social networking site's second acquisition in two weeks. On Friday, LinkedIn announced plans to buy Refresh, a startup with an app that searches the Internet for information related to people that users are scheduled to meet.

The site was launched by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin in 1995 as a way to teach Web publishing and design. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2015 and is subject to regulatory approval. Most of's staff will join LinkedIn, according to a news release.

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