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LinkedIn, Bright

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LinkedIn announced on Thursday it plans to acquire Bright, a data-driven job search startup, for $120 million.

The buy is LinkedIn’s largest acquisition to date, topping the company’s earlier major acquisitions of SlideShare ($119 million) and Pulse ($90 million). Terms of the deal included 73 percent of the $120 million in stock, with the remaining 27 percent — or $32.4 million — in cash.

Bright aims to take an algorithmic approach to matching job seekers to new positions. For every position posted on Bright, applicants are assigned scores that show how good a match they are to the posted job. The idea, according to the company, is to cut through the deluge of applications that come with posting a given job, narrowing the field to a smaller pool of candidates.

Obviously it’s a natural fit for LinkedIn, which makes the bulk of its revenue from its “Talent Solutions” recruiting product group. The easier it is for headhunters to post jobs and sift through applicants, the more useful the product becomes and the more likely those subscriptions will continue. (Of course, LinkedIn has similar features on its own service already.)

But the buy could also have been a way to pick off a rising competitor in the recruiting space. The company has grown into a formidable destination for job seekers, and it doesn’t hurt to snag a challenger before it gets too large. It will also add dozens of data scientists to LinkedIn’s ranks.

To date, Bright has raised upward of $20 million in venture funding from Toba Capital and Passport Capital.

LinkedIn expects the deal to close by the end of its first financial quarter.




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