Content for Sale: Microsoft Buys LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion in Latest Content-Driven Acquisition

It’s been a year of acquisitions for content marketing companies, led by Microsoft’s surprise cash purchase of LinkedIn. Here’s what these acquisitions mean for the content marketing industry.

Content-fueled acquisitions have ruled this month’s marketing headlines, led by Microsoft’s surprise purchase of LinkedIn, a $26.2 billion deal. The news, announced June 12, eclipsed the announcement of Cleveland-based Content Marketing Institute’s sale to UBM days earlier for a relative drop in the bucket — $17.6 million subject to “meeting of profit targets” over the next two years, according to Folio Magazine.

The UBM deal was itself the second in just over a month for the company, which bought Business Journals, Inc. in April for $69 million. In yet another acquisition in May, Adobe bought content and image curation company Lifefyre, a much-less hyped deal with terms undisclosed, according to an article by Fortune.  What do these acquisitions mean for the content industry? Here are a few takeaways for B2B marketers:

1. Marketers will more easily reach executives with relevant content at their desks.

Behind the LinkedIn purchase is Microsoft’s goal to integrate the service with its Office products, serving relevant headlines to executives based on the projects they’re working on. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Bloomberg today, “This is about the coming together of the leading professional cloud and the leading professional network. We believe we can accelerate that by making LinkedIn the social fabric for all of Office.”

2. Content will become more closely tied to sales. 

With LinkedIn, Microsoft expects to enter the software arena, taking on existing lead-generation giants. “LinkedIn could really become a really big competitor for Salesforce going forward,” noted Anurag Rana, a senior analyst at Bloomberg. Nadella hinted at this motivation in a memo to his staff published by The Verge.

3. Content marketing is now an essential part of trade show marketing. 

Content Marketing Institute’s wildly popular Content Marketing World conference, which draws roughly 4,000 attendees each year, is a major reason for its acquisition by trade event giant UBM — and not just for speakers like William Shatner, Kevin Spacey, and (this year) Mark Hamill. The show emphasizes communication, entertainment, and education — all staples of successful content marketing campaigns. As UBM stated:  “Content marketing is one of the fastest growth segments of the marketing industry. By building a combined technology and marketing event portfolio, UBM and CMI will serve the market in the best way possible — covering all corners of the business — for customers, readers, attendees and exhibitors.” We would be smiling too.


Content Marketing Institute CEO Joe Pulizzi plans to keep the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. Photo Credit: InfoMart.


More From The Headlines:


LinkedIn Shares up 47% on Microsoft Bid – USA Today 

The Microsoft LinkedIn Deal: What it Means for Advertisers – Marketing Land

Q&A: Joe Pulizzi, CEO, Content Marketing Institute – Crain’s Cleveland 

What Adobe’s Latest Acquisition Says about the Future of Marketing – Fortune

And just for fun:

Content Marketing Predictions for the Rest of 2016 – Forbes


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