Can LinkedIn Move into Ebsco and Thomson Territory?

March 12, 2013

You may find “LinkedIn to buy Pulse Newsreader for More than $50 Million” interesting. If true, stakeholders in some large professional publishing companies may want to reconsider their holdings.

I think that the commercial business information publishers won’t pay much attention to this deal. Companies like Ebsco, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer are trying to sustain their revenues while achieving growth. Thomson Reuters has faced some growth challenges. The other companies which compete with this venerable firm are in the same pickle in my opinion.

The reason is that LinkedIn is built of professionals who want to get jobs and sell work. Now hunting for a job may seem a far cry from searching an Ebsco database or consulting a Wolters Kluwer health database. I don’t think the gap is too big at all.

According to the write up:

LinkedIn will buy the maker of the newsreader app Pulse, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. The price of the acquisition is in the tens of millions, they said — between $50 million and $100 million.

The amount paid for Pulse is pocket change for the giants of business information publishing. But LinkedIn owns Slideshare, a collection of business information. Add that content to the base of people who want to make sure each can find a job or sell a consulting job, and you have a 21st century content system which is going to be of increasing importance.

With a nifty distribution channel like Pulse, which is a next generation magazine/journal platform, LinkedIn is in a position to start encroaching on the territory of the Thomsons, the Ebscos, and the Wolters Kluwers of the world.

LinkedIn is integrated professional publishing. Its customers and advertisers pay for value. Contrast that business model to “we have to buy this stuff” which characterizes some of the big professional publishing outfits.

What can these giants do to protect their markets? Is LinkedIn for sale? My hunch is that LinkedIn will put fragile professional publishing companies under more pressure. Why didn’t one of these giants of business information jump on the LinkedIn type of opportunity?

Perhaps none of the executives at these firms is thinking about finding a job or becoming a consultant? If the firms do not hit their financial goals, many of the senior executives at the business information and professional publishing powerhouses will have an opportunity to learn the value of LinkedIn first hand.

Stephen E Arnold, March 11, 2013


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