LinkedIn sharpening B2B tools with Bizo acquisition

The professional social network has agreed to pay $175 million for the B2B marketing platform.

Many of LinkedIn's recent high-profile acquisitions have been motivated by digital publishing interests, but the latest one moves the needle on content marketing.

The world's largest professional social network announced on Tuesday that it plans to buy business audience marketing firm Bizo.

Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Bizo develops a B2B marketing platform heavily based upon proprietary data management and targeting technology.

Bizo itself targets B2B marketers looking to manage display and social advertising programs at every stage of sales and marketing, with the goal of enabling these brands themselves to target the most appropriate audiences possible.

LinkedIn has agreed to pay $175 million, breaking down to roughly 90 percent cash and 10 percent stock. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter of 2014.

Following the merger, LinkedIn's vice president of product David Thacker noted in a blog post on Wednesday that Bizo’s Media Solutions and Multi-Channel Nurturing products will be integrated with LinkedIn.

Bizo’s tools make it possible for marketers to reach professional audiences, nurture prospects and acquire customers across a network of business and professional publishers. They have also developed innovative products that measure the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing programs — critical to helping marketers navigate the complex B2B buying process where multiple touchpoints influence every sale.

"Our ability to integrate their B2B solutions with our content marketing products will enable us to become the most effective platform for B2B marketers to engage professionals," boasted Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior vice president of product and user experience, in the acquisition announcement.

Bizo CEO Russell Glass followed up in a separate statement, highlighting similar "core customer-first and member-first mindsets" while reiterating Bizo's previous history with LinkedIn as a member of the social network's Partner API program.

However, Thacker said that LinkedIn will not "carry over" Bizo's Data Solutions business.

Furthermore, he explained Bizo will honor its existing contracts, but LinkedIn data won’t be made available to any grandfathered customers.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based social media giant didn't specify if all Bizo employees would be joining LinkedIn, only to specify "many members of the Bizo team are expected to join" the new parent company.