LinkedIn buys news reader platform Pulse for US$90m

12 Apr 2013

LinkedIn has confirmed its acquisition of Alphonso Labs, the company behind the mobile news reader app Pulse, for US$90m. The Pulse app, which now boasts more than 30m users globally, has been snapped up by the professional social network LinkedIn as it seeks to become more of a professional publishing platform.

Last month, there had been speculation that LinkedIn was set to fork out more than US$50m to acquire the popular RSS news reader app, staving off competition from Microsoft and Yahoo! in the process.

The news follows on from Yahoo!’s acquisition of the news summarising app Summly in March for a reported US$30m, making its 17-year-old founder Nick D’Aloisio a millionaire.

As for Pulse, it was developed in 2010 by Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta as a class project while they were students at Stanford University. The web and mobile platform collects news items from more than 750 publishing partners. Pulse works across Android, iOS and HTML 5 browsers and is currently available in nine languages.

Pulse came into the spotlight in 2010 after the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs mentioned it in his keynote speech at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

LinkedIn has confirmed that it will pay US$90m for Pulse, with the deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.

In a blog post, LinkedIn’s senior vice-president of products and user experience Deep Nishar said that the Pulse team would bring a “unique” combination of product, technology, and design expertise to LinkedIn.

He spoke about LinkedIn’s aim to become a “definitive professional publishing platform” and said that Pulse would complement this vision.

“Pulse’s core value proposition is to help foster informed discussions that spark the decisions shaping the world around us through news and information. This shared view that the power of professional information and knowledge can transform lives and the world makes LinkedIn and Pulse a particularly great fit,” said Nishar.

LinkedIn added that the existing Pulse apps will continue to be supported.

In a blog post of its own, Pulse added that it would be creating a new LinkedIn Influencer feed on Pulse that will feature posts from the likes of Richard Branson and former General Electric chairman and CEO Jack Welch.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic