LinkedIn Buys Flipboard Competitor Pulse for $90 Million

Apps not shuttering, but new products on the way

It's been a weird month for social and media. A few weeks after Facebook’s managing editor announced his departure and during the same week Tumblr said it is dismantling its Storyboard editorial team, LinkedIn has bought Flipboard rival Pulse for $90 million, the business-oriented social platform announced on Thursday, confirming an All Things D report published last month.

"To continue to deliver that value to our members, our vision for content is that LinkedIn will be the definitive professional publishing platform, and Pulse is a perfect complement to this vision,” said LinkedIn’s svp of products and user experience Deep Nishar in a company statement.

While Facebook’s and Tumblr’s forays into publishing were a bit bizarre for platforms viewed primarily as outlets for users to create and distribute articles, LinkedIn has demonstrated a commitment to editorial content. Two years ago the company introduced LinkedIn Today as a pseudo-social front page for users to access news stories relevant to their careers and industries. Then last fall LinkedIn launched the Influencers blog platform for people on the level of Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington to pen posts published on LinkedIn.

As Nishar said, Pulse is complementary to those products, particularly in how LinkedIn Today can be developed and Influencers posts get distributed. More than 30 million people across more than 190 countries use Pulse’s iOS and Android apps to find news stories, and more than 750 publishers use Pulse to get their articles in front of those users.

"LinkedIn is the perfect partner as we continue our journey," Pulse co-founders Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta wrote on their company's blog. "The company shares our passions and values, our belief in the power of knowledge and elevated discussion, particularly for professionals looking for insights to help make them better at what they do. We believe this important step is the key to an even better experience for our community, and we’re excited for what’s to come."

While the Pulse apps will remain available—at least for now—the Pulse team and LinkedIn will work to create “professional content consumption products,” per a company statement. Whether that means expanding LinkedIn Today into a business-centric version of Pulse remains to be seen, but Pulse co-founder Gupta suggested content distribution and discovery will remain their focus.

"Now that our team is part of LinkedIn, we'll work together to expand the possibilities for content discovery, helping readers engage in conversations with colleagues, mentors, industry leaders, and beyond,” he said in a LinkedIn statement.