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Why LinkedIn Is Buying Newsreader App Pulse

The job-hunting site buys a newsreader app
Why LinkedIn Is Buying Newsreader App Pulse
Illustration by Mitch Blunt

Come to LinkedIn, and stay awhile. That’s the pitch behind the career website’s April 11 acquisition of Pulse, the three-year-old newsreading app, for $90 million. By incorporating Pulse’s stream of content from more than 750 media partners, LinkedIn plans to become more than just an occasional visit for job seekers. “The key for LinkedIn is to become a day-to-day site,” says Blake Harper, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities. “They want to become a publishing platform for professionals.”

Pulse is just the latest newsreading app to attract the interest of a big Web portal. CNN bought Zite in 2011, while Yahoo! paid $30 million for Summly in March. Like those apps, Pulse suggests articles from hundreds of news and media outlets. It displays them in a photo-based grid that’s particularly well suited to smartphones and tablets, and it allows users to tailor their news feed by picking the sources and subjects that interest them. “We believe Pulse could bring fresh content to LinkedIn and help the platform transform to a professional knowledge hub,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post wrote in a report issued the day after the purchase was announced.