LinkedIn to buy Pulse, maker of mobile news reader app

With the acquisition, the professional networking site aims to boost its content-publishing capabilities

LinkedIn, the world's largest professional networking site, continues to beef up its content publishing platform with its agreement to acquire Pulse, which makes a mobile news aggregation, reader, and content distribution application.

LinkedIn has been broadening its site's scope in recent years beyond its core feature of individual professional profiles, where people post career-related information and network with other members.

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The Pulse acquisition, announced on Thursday, fits into LinkedIn's recent push around becoming a repository of news articles and columns published by media outlets and professional authors, as well as of member-generated posts that are primarily about career advancement and business.

"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," wrote Deep Nishar, LinkedIn's senior vice president of products and user experience, in a blog post. "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."

"Pulse is a perfect complement to this vision," he said.

The deal, expected to close this quarter, is worth about $90 million, approximately 90 percent stock and 10 percent cash.

Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari started Pulse in 2010 as a class project at Stanford that grew out of their dissatisfaction with mobile news reading. With Pulse, they aimed for "an effortless experience, with clean design and easy access to all of our favorite sources," they wrote in a separate blog post on Thursday.

Pulse, available for iOS and Android devices, will remain available in its current form for now, and the two teams will work to extend it and create "new offerings," they said, without going into details. It has more than 30 million users in 190 countries and is growing its user base by about 1 million people per month. It's used by more than 750 publishers.

Meanwhile, as of the end of 2012, LinkedIn had topped 200 million registered members located in more than 200 countries.

Last month, LinkedIn announced a revamping of its search engine, a move intended to make it easier for its members to find information on the site as the volume of content increases and becomes more varied.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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