LinkedIn's $120 Million Bright Deal Targets Digitally Mapped Global Economy

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - LinkedIn (LNKD), the 277 million user strong professional network, has agreed to buy job search site Bright in a stock and cash acquisition valued at approximately $120 million. The acquisition is expected to accelerate LinkedIn's so-called Economic Graph effort to digitally map the global economy.

While Bright appeared to be an emerging competitor of LinkedIn with a growing number of job searches and seeker on its site, the company's acquisition appears more about technology and algorithms that may be used to supplement LinkedIn's existing services. Specifically, Bright appears will become a part of LinkedIn's Economic Graph project, which seeks to create a digital map of the global economy, eliminating frictions in the labor force.

"We're excited to join LinkedIn because the company shares a similar vision and is equally obsessed about using data and algorithms to connect prospects and employers," Eduardo Vivas, founder of Bright said in a statement.

Bright was founded in February 2011, and with a team of 15 scientists and engineers, embarked on an 18-month resume to job description study that combed over 2.8 million resumes and 8.6 million job seekers. Using the study's results, the company created the Bright Score, an algorithm the company says examines data points to connect job seekers with openings, reducing hiring times and serving better hiring choices.

The Bright Score was launched in June of 2012 and around that time Bright attracted $6 million in series A financing from angel investors.

According to data from Compete.com, over 62 million jobs have been posted on Bright since its launch, and over 13.5 million job applications have been conducted on the site in that time. On its website, Bright advertises connections with firms as large as Nike (NKE), JPMorgan (JPM), Visa (V), Kohl's (KSS) and Amazon (AMZN).

In September 2013, Bright raised $14 million in Series B funding from Toba Capital and Passport Capital. At that time, Bright said it had a team of 51 employees and was looking to expand across its sales, marketing and engineering departments.

While Bright may have been an emerging competitor to LinkedIn, Thursday's deal appears to be about the company's Economic Graph effort.

"By leveraging Bright's data-driven matching technology, machine-learning algorithms and domain expertise, we can accelerate our efforts and build out the Economic Graph," Deep Nishar, LinkedIn's SVP of Products and User Experience said in a statement.

Following the closing of the transaction, several members of Bright's team will join LinkedIn. Bright's existing users and customers will be able to access existing data on its website through February 28, LinkedIn said.

Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn said on Thursday that its $120 million acquisition of Bright would be financed with approximately 73% of stock, conducted through a private placement, and 27% in cash.

The move marks a quick success for Bright, which only raised $20 million outside financing since its February 2011 founding.

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