LinkedIn buys Bright, a matchmaker for job hunts

Bright's core feature is designed to better match job seekers and employers

LinkedIn is acquiring Bright, a startup that has developed a search technology for better matching job hunters with employers that could help to drive more users to LinkedIn's site.

LinkedIn said Thursday that it would be acquiring the young company, which launched its service three years ago. Bright's technology is built around a scoring mechanism to quickly show job seekers and employers how well-matched they are.

The US$120 million acquisition, made up of 73 percent stock and 27 percent cash, is LinkedIn's largest one ever. The deal is expected to close by the end of March. LinkedIn said several members of Bright's team, including people in engineering and product roles, will be coming over with the acquisition. It did not say whether Bright CEO Steve Goodman would join LinkedIn.

There are more than 2.5 million jobs indexed on Bright, being searched by 7 million people each month, according to the company's website. Job seekers do not have to register to search for jobs using the site, but creating a profile provides access to its key features around matching. Bright's users will be able to access its existing data through Feb. 28, LinkedIn said.

LinkedIn already uses information in people's profiles to tell them how well they are suited to specific jobs. The company also provides tools to suggest jobs that might be of interest to particular users.

But Bright's technology is designed to let employers know in an instant how well-qualified a candidate is for a particular job, saving them the time of having to pore over the résumé to make a first judgment. Bright calls its matching feature the "Bright Score," taking hundreds of variables into account. Bright's matching process can save a recruiter an hour per résumé, the company says.

The acquisition will provide "the ability to apply this technology across the entire economy," Bright founder Eduardo Vivas said in a press release.

LinkedIn said it would use Bright's technology in the years ahead to help make its applicant suggestions for employers, and jobs surfaced for seekers, more relevant.

The acquisition also represents a return to LinkedIn's roots in job search. In recent years the company has rethought its business to make its site more of a place for people to go to for consuming content, not just for finding jobs. To help it do this, last year LinkedIn bought Pulse, a newsreader app to help cultivate a stream of content for its users.

LinkedIn announced the acquisition alongside its fourth-quarter financial results, which showed a 47 percent increase in revenue from the previous year. However, the company's revenue guidance for 2014 came in below analysts' estimates, and LinkedIn's stock tumbled in after-hours trading.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Tags social mediaMergers and acquisitionsinternetLinkedInbusiness issuessearch enginessocial networkingInternet-based applications and servicesBright

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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